17 February 2020
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The Impacts of Excessive Gambling

If gambling is dominating your life and holds an important place in it, you might be suffering serious financial, family and even health consequences. The repercussions of gambling are serious.

The Repercussions of Excessive Gambling
on the Gambler

Even though, an excessive gambler’s behaviour can have repercussions on the lives of several people, he/she is the first to suffer. A gambling addiction is prone to cause the following negative effects:

  • Impacts on mental health
    An excessive gambler can go through all of these states of mind: depression, anxiety, guilt, anger, loneliness, isolation, disappointment, loss of self-esteem, loss of control and suicidal thoughts.
  • Impacts on physical health 
    An excessive gambler can have several ailments that are often due to stress, such as, insomnia, digestive issues, headaches, back and neck pains.
  • Substance abuse 
    When gambling endures, smoking or using drugs and alcohol can become a stress reliever as the pressure mounts. They can gain importance at the same time that gambling does.
  • Social problems 
    A gambler can sometimes exhibit problematic behaviours such as, lying, manipulation, verbal, emotional and physical abuse, as well as, isolation.
  • Financial difficulties 
    An excessive gambler could frequently be faced with loss of income, increased debt (the use of credit cards, lines of credit or other loans) and an inability to pay bills.
  • Legal impacts 
    It is possible for an excessive gambler to commit acts that go against his/her values such as criminal acts (theft, fraud, counterfeiting, etc.).
  • Impacts on school and work
    These problems are reflected by absenteeism, loss of productivity and missed professional opportunities.

The Repercussions of Excessive Gambling
on the Partner and Family

Knowing or living with someone who has an excessive gambling problem is very trying. Even if they love the gambler, loved ones often feel overwhelmed by it all. Here are some of the impacts excessive gambling can have on the partner and family.

  • Financial crisis 
    Excessive gambling often brings a huge financial burden on the family, sometimes leading to on-going debt and loss of family assets.
  • Manipulation 
    A gambler who wants money to gamble can manipulate loved ones.
  • Lies
    In order to justify or cover up for the gambler, loved ones can feel compelled to lie. They therefore make excuses for the gambler’s behaviour.
  • Mental and emotional health 
    For the medium term, loved ones can feel sadness, anger, resentment, embarrassment leading to anxiety, depression, exhaustion, guilt and lowered self-esteem.
  • Physical health
    Loved ones can also have physical problems: insomnia, ulcers, poor digestion, headaches, back and neck pains, as well as, other ailments due to stress.
  • Imbalance in roles
    In certain cases children will take care of the gambling parents and in other cases, parents will over-protect their gambling children. Or a partner will now do all the chores that were once shared. The non-gambling partner can also suffer from lack of sexual and emotional intimacy.
  • Physical and verbal violence 
    A gambler can make gestures that are violent or use a violent tone or words that can lead to arguments, tension, estrangement, separation, divorce, loneliness and isolation.
  • Losing the ability to take care of ourselves 
    Loved ones can sometimes give all their attention to the gambler to the point of neglecting their own needs.

The Repercussions of Excessive Gambling
on Friends and Colleagues

The effects of excessive gambling can also be felt by friends and colleagues:

  • Manipulation 
    A gambler who wants money to gamble can manipulate loved ones.
  • Lies
    Loved ones can end up lying and making excuses for the gambler’s behaviour.
  • Verbal abuse
    A gambler can use an aggressive tone or violent words that could lead to arguments and strained relationships.
  • Financial difficulties
    A gambler can borrow money from a loved one and not pay it back.
  • Denial
    Sometimes loved ones pretend to not notice changes in the gambler’s behaviours and attitudes to not have to deal with it.

Are you the victim of, or witness to these behaviours? Are you going through something similar?

Ask for help at Gambling: Help and Referral.
Their counsellors will know how to guide you towards the appropriate resources.


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