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The effects of gambling

When you think of the effects of gambling, certain things spring to mind. Like financial worries, relationship difficulties and other serious issues.

But you might not be aware of the emotional effects of gambling, which many people experience no matter how much or how often they bet. These effects start off small and often build up, causing stress in our lives.

But they don’t have to. Because if you understand what’s causing stress, you can take the pressure off yourself or help a loved one do the same.

Emotional stress from gambling

Gambling is all about emotions. There’s the fun of winning, the enjoyment of socialising or the familiar routine of some downtime on the pokies.

But there are other emotions too, like stress, regret and a little guilt, which most people feel at some point even if only briefly. It’s easy to forget about this side of gambling but these feelings often build up, even if you’re not gambling very much or very often.

And from there, you can find yourself feeling a little down – often without knowing why. You might be short tempered, easily annoyed or simply stressed. Suddenly, you’re feeling the effects of gambling.

It might not happen straight away, which is probably why many people don’t understand the negative effects of gambling. But it’s worth being aware that gambling is not all about the money. It’s about how it can make you feel and act.

How people are being affected

Quotes from people affected by harm from gambling

Is my gambling affecting me?

Gambling can affect how you feel, no matter how much or how often you do it. Is that true for you or someone you care about? These checklists may help you answer that question.

  • I celebrate when I win but keep quiet when I lose
  • I think about gambling when I’m not doing it
  • I sometimes feel guilty after gambling
  • I’ve put off doing or buying other things so I can gamble
  • I’ve spent more than intended
  • I’ve snapped at family members or friends over little things
  • I’ve had trouble concentrating at work
  • I sometimes feel regret after gambling
  • I’ve found it difficult to unwind or sleep
  • I’ve been drinking or smoking more than usual
  • On a night out, I miss out on other activities because I overspend on gambling

If any of these are true for you, you could be feeling the effects of gambling. While this doesn’t mean you have a problem, it does mean that when you’re feeling stressed or down, gambling could be the reason.

By keeping this in mind, you can be more aware of the effects of gambling and be more mindful of your gambling choices.

Signs of harm from gambling

Long before it looks like a problem, gambling can be causing harm.

Harm from gambling isn’t just about losing money. Gambling can affect self-esteem, relationships, physical and mental health, work performance and social life. It can harm not only the person who gambles but also family, friends, workplaces and communities. Here are some signs of gambling harm you can look for.

Initial signs of harm:

  • having less time or money to spend on recreation and family
  • reduced savings
  • increased consumption of alcohol
  • feelings of guilt or regret

Advanced signs of harm:

  • relationship conflict
  • reduced work or study performance
  • financial difficulties
  • anger
  • feelings of shame and hopelessness

If left un-checked, these harms can escalate or lead to more severe harms.

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