Public Health and Gambling
A person with a gambling problem needs a strong support system to overcome the urge to gamble. This may include family members, friends, and co-workers. However, it is also important to seek professional help. To combat this problem, you can try to limit the amount of money that you spend on gambling, get rid of credit cards, enroll in an education class, volunteer, or join a sports team. Also, you can join peer support groups, like Gamblers Anonymous. This program is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous and involves identifying a sponsor, a former gambler who can offer you guidance and support.
Gambling also has long-term consequences. Problem gambling can detract from an individual’s life, disrupting their work, and preventing them from participating in other activities. It can even be passed down from generation to generation. In addition, the money that people spend on gambling can become a burden to society. Problem gamblers can become bankrupt and have a severe financial impact on family, friends, and the economy. They may also incur social care costs.
In terms of social costs and benefits of gambling, most studies focus on its negative effects. Typically, they focus on pathological gambling, but the harms can also be seen in nonproblematic gamblers. Using a public health approach to gambling will help researchers and policymakers assess the effects of gambling policies on different levels of severity and the benefits and costs to society.