Whether it’s betting on a team, buying a lottery ticket or playing the pokies, gambling is an activity that most people have engaged in at some point in their lives. Whether it’s for fun or as a way to win money, it’s important to remember that gambling is an activity that can be addictive and cause harm if not used responsibly. If you’re struggling with gambling addiction, seek help from a support service like StepChange for free debt advice.
Gambling has both negative and positive impacts on individuals and society/community. These impacts are structuralized as costs and benefits and manifest in three classes: financial, labor, and health and well-being. These classes are then categorized as internal and external. Internal impacts induce effects on a personal level to gamblers themselves, while external impacts influence the interpersonal and society/community levels and concern other people who are not gamblers themselves.
Internal impacts are mostly non-monetary in nature, including the psychological costs associated with gambling. For example, gambling can increase an individual’s risk of mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety. Moreover, it can also increase impulsivity and lead to reckless behaviour. Additionally, gambling can negatively impact family relationships and social life.
The release of dopamine during gambling stimulates brain pathways similar to those activated by drugs of abuse, which can lead to impulsive and reckless behaviours. In addition, the reliance on gambling for income can lead to financial instability. In order to overcome these problems, it is best to seek help from a support group like Gamblers Anonymous or a program based on the Alcoholics Anonymous model.