People who are struggling with gambling addiction need to strengthen their support networks to overcome the problem. In addition to friends and family, they should consider enrolling in education courses, volunteering for good causes, and joining peer support groups. One such program is Gamblers Anonymous. This 12-step recovery program is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. In addition, members are required to choose a sponsor, who is a former gambler and has a proven track record of helping others overcome gambling addiction.
In the U.S., about two percent of adults meet diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling. However, a significant portion of this population may also be classified as problem gamblers. Problem gamblers experience problems as a result of their gambling habits, but they may not meet the diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling. A problem gambler will typically spend more time and resources gambling than they do on other activities, such as work or family. For this reason, they should seek treatment and counseling if they feel that their gambling behavior is impacting their quality of life.
As a result of their habit, problem gamblers tend to have a diminished interest in their careers, personal relationships, hobbies, and other areas of their lives. Problem gamblers can suffer social isolation because normal life does not hold the same appeal as the ‘high’ of gambling. The effects of problem gambling can range from arguments and strained relationships to alienation and physical abuse. Furthermore, problem gamblers may isolate themselves from friends and family members due to shame, guilt, and borrowing money to fund their gambling habits.
Positive impacts of gambling
There are many positive impacts of gambling, and most people engage in it for leisure. Gambling improves eye-hand coordination, reduces stress, and sharpens the mind. The social aspect of gambling is important, and is also linked to increased levels of happiness. Gambling has also been linked to increased social networking and improved brain functioning. However, if a person becomes addicted to gambling, this enjoyment may diminish. If this occurs, it may be time to seek professional help.
A conceptual model of the impacts of gambling has identified positive and negative impacts. These effects can be categorized as personal, societal, and financial. The economic impacts of gambling are mostly indirect, but they can range from boosting local economies to improving public health. In addition to improving mental and physical health, gambling has also been linked to increased income for those involved. The social costs of gambling are often intangible, affecting everyone in the community, but the benefits outweigh the costs.
Alternatives to gambling
In order to prevent yourself from becoming addicted to gambling, find healthy alternatives. By avoiding gambling triggers and distractions, you can replace your gambling actions with healthier alternatives. Physical activities, meditation, time with family and friends who don’t gamble, or volunteering can all be healthy alternatives. Whatever your choice, you need to redirect your energies in a positive direction. Here are some ideas:
Support groups – Senior centers and councils on aging provide support services to seniors. These organizations are nonprofit organizations made up of over 350 local agencies and serve as advocates for senior citizens. They provide social gatherings, health and wellness programs, and arts and culture tours. By attending a senior center, you will have access to a variety of activities that may not be offered in your area. Even if you don’t live near a senior center, virtual programming can be available to you.