Gambling involves placing something of value on a random event, with the intent of winning another item of value. There are several benefits to gambling, including socialization and mental development. However, there are also negative effects of gambling, including addiction and financial problems. This can be difficult to cope with for family members of problem gamblers, and it is important to help them find healthy coping strategies.
While most people who try their hand at gambling do not develop gambling disorders, a significant subset do so. These behaviors can range from those that are subclinical, to those that meet diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling (PG), according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
In addition to causing personal and interpersonal impacts, gambling has economic, labor and health/wellness impacts. Economic impacts include changes in financial situations, such as changes in assets and liabilities, income, and employment status. Labor and health/wellness impacts include changes in productivity, absenteeism, work-related injuries and illness, and job losses and gains.
The best way to minimize negative gambling impact is to practice responsible gambling. It is also important to seek help for underlying mood disorders, such as depression, stress, or anxiety, which can trigger or exacerbate gambling problems. In addition, families of problem gamblers should help them set boundaries in managing their finances and credit, and should not enable them to use money for gambling. This will also encourage them to find other ways to spend their time and money.