Whether you love it or hate it, gambling is a topic that divides people. For some, it’s a form of entertainment and others believe that it should be made illegal because it can have a negative impact on mental health. However, regardless of your opinion on the matter, it’s important to understand that whether it’s legal or not, it’s going to happen – so we might as well make the most of it in a regulated environment.
Some people gamble for the thrill of winning money, while others do it to change their moods, unwind and socialize with friends. In fact, many studies have shown that gambling can trigger feelings of euphoria in the brain similar to those that occur during sports events or concerts (International Gambling Studies, 2013).
For some, gambling can become problematic when it becomes a way of self-soothing unpleasant emotions, such as depression, stress or anxiety. This can often be a sign that there are underlying mood disorders which need to be addressed.
Currently, there are no medications available to treat pathological gambling, but psychotherapy can help people identify and change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. This usually takes place with a licensed mental health professional. For some, limiting access to money can also be helpful – for example, removing credit cards from your wallet, having someone else handle your finances, closing online betting accounts and only keeping a small amount of cash on you at all times.