How gambling can have a negative impact on your life

Over €1 billion is expected to be punted across the UK and Ireland in the coming days as the best names in jump racing fight it out at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, taking place from March 10th-13th.

It is the week that dwarfs all others in jump racing and the Cheltenham Festival is growing ever-more dominant in the minds of betting shop customers too. Its lure to one-a-year punters means that The Grand National and the Gold Cup are the top two races bet on every year.

For many, the excitement of Cheltenham makes it the highlight of the year. But for anyone with a gambling addiction, it can be one temptation too many, as the negative effects of gambling can destroy entire families.

The hidden addiction

Gambling, of course, is not just about putting a few quid on a horse. What starts as fun at the casino, a regular card game, a night out, or a lunch break scroll on an app can become a living nightmare. The endless cycle of lies, manipulation, lack of trust, remorse and all the promises to never to do it again – until the next time – will negatively impact your life forever.

This is similar to all addictions, but with gambling, you can hide it. You can’t see the gambling in their eyes, or smell it on their breath, so the problem is often only discovered in a crisis.

How gambling negatively affects the addict

Financial problems are the most obvious signs that gambling has become an addiction. It can lead to problems at work – absenteeism, decreased productivity, lack of interest – which results in job loss, huge pressure of debt and even bankruptcy. Besides losing money hand over fist, there are many other negative effects of gambling:

Mental health issues: Depression, anxiety, diminished self-esteem, increased alcohol, drugs, suicidal thoughts and even suicide.

Physical problems: Insomnia, headaches, back or neck pain, stomach upset and numerous other ailments.

Self-care: Not eating right, poor sleep habits, personal hygiene etc.

Social issues: Arguments, relationship issues, alienation, separation, divorce, physical or mental abuse.

Legal problems: Theft, fraud, arrests, criminal record and prison.

How gambling affects the family/partner

There may be so much focus on the gambler, family members may neglect themselves. There’s never any time for themselves. Friends and co-workers also pay a price. They are manipulated into lending money.

The addict puts the family in financial crisis. This is a huge burden and the negative effects of gambling can lead to ongoing debt and losing your house. Then, there’s the emotional pressure that comes with lying, covering up and making excuses for his/her behaviour. Other issues faced by the gambling addict’s partner include:

Mental health problems: Anxiety, depression, anger, resentment, embarrassment, exhaustion and self-doubt.

Physical problems: Insomnia, ulcers, digestive problems, headaches, neck and back pain and other stress-related health problems.

Self-esteem issues: Feelings of helplessness, insecurity, being overwhelmed and even feeling that they are responsible.

Relationship problems: Role reversal (children taking care of parents), partners performing all of the household tasks that they previously shared, lack of sexual and emotional intimacy. This leads to continuous arguments, loneliness, separation and divorce.

If you need help with your gambling

Seek help and take the initiative. You don’t need to go through this alone. There are thousands of others out there who are in the same situation. Start with your GP, who can recommend and refer you to appropriate treatments and services. Or give us a call at Tabor Group and we will guide you through the various options for residential treatment. With decades of experience in dealing with gambling addiction, you will be in safe and confidential hands.

Tabor Group is a leading provider of residential addiction treatment services in Ireland. We provide support and care to hundreds of clients suffering from addictions to alcohol, substances, gambling and eating disorders. For more information on Tabor Group’s services click here.