Although problem gambling often results in financial problems – the impact of problem gambling usually stretches much further than this. Everybody’s situation is unique, but there are some common themes amongst problem gamblers such as a feeling of isolation, feelings of shame and guilt, a preoccupation with gambling that can start to make close relationships, social activities and work more difficult to maintain.
Is gambling affecting my mental health?
Problem gambling can have a serious impact on your mental health. Do any of these statements sound familiar to you?
- I have extreme emotions or mood swings
- I feel that gambling is the only thing I really enjoy
- I have difficulty sleeping
- I often feel depressed or anxious
- I have suicidal thoughts
- I use gambling to avoid difficulties
These are all common features of problem gambling. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, problem gamblers are more likely than others to suffer from low self-esteem, develop stress-related disorders, to become anxious, have poor sleep and appetite, to develop a substance misuse problem and to suffer from depression.
Is gambling affecting my relationships?
A gambling problem can have a serious impact on relationships which can make it even harder on the gambler. Consider the following questions – are any of these familiar stories for you?
- I’m arguing more with my partner or family – especially about money, budgeting and debt.
- I’m preoccupied with gambling and finding it difficult to focus on other things.
- I’m spending less time with my friends and more time gambling.
- I’m not able to tell people the truth about how much I have lost.
- I’m stealing money from friends and family to gamble with.
These are common ways in which problem gambling can impact relationships. It may be tempting to imagine that you can resolve your money or debt problems yourself, and to try and hide this from people close to you. The guilt over money already spent may prevent you from being honest about your situation. All of these things will be putting distance between you and people that care about you.
Is gambling affecting my finances?
One of the most obvious ways in which gambling can become problematic is when debt begins to mount or when savings or money meant for other things is being spent on gambling.
Do any of these statements describe your situation?
- I am struggling to pay my bills on time.
- I am juggling my credit card debt.
- I have taken out a payday loan.
- I am using business money to gamble with.
- I have gambled with my savings.
- I am hiding my financial situation from those close to me.
Problem gambling often creates debt and financial issues that become increasingly difficult to manage. It may seem that further gambling is the only way to get control of finances, yet instead gambling will continue to make the issues more difficult.