The Cost of Problem Gambling
There are many opportunities to gamble in New York State. Gambling is all around us, at the grocery store, gatherings with family and friends, as well as online. While many can gamble for fun or entertainment, anyone has the potential to develop a gambling problem. Gambling can take a toll on our financial situation and our mental health. In the US more than four million people meet the criteria for problem gambling every year.
Stress and Finances
If gambling is affecting your life, the financial debts can stack up. You may have trouble paying the mortgage or rent, utilities or other bills which can leave no money for food or other necessities.
When our finances are tight, this may affect our stress levels. Stress can be defined as a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. Experiencing stress is a natural response and is how we respond to challenges in our lives. Everyone experiences some degree of stress.
Gambling and Stress
When we are stressed, we may be looking for an escape. One may think that when money is tight or gone there is no reason to keep gambling, but that is not the case. Often, when one is struggling with their finances due to gambling, it may seem like continuing to gamble is the only way it will get better. You may think that winning the big jackpot will make your problems go away when in fact, it will not.
If you continue to gamble you may find that your stress continues. You may start to feel restless or irritable when not gambling. It may cause strains in your relationships at home and at work. In addition, it may continue to affect your mental health causing more stress, anxiety, and depression.
What Can I Do
Reaching out for help can be scary. It is a big step but know there are many resources to help, and you can start small.
One place to start is to understand what problem gambling is and why you may be gambling. The New York Council on Problem Gambling has many resources to help you. These resources include:
- The Path of Problem Gambling is an infographic that can show you how gambling can affect an individual, as well as your family members, co-workers and community.
- The Cost of Problem Gambling this resource can show you how much money gambling is costing you every year.
Another way to start small is by taking an e-screener. The e-screener is an anonymous tool that can help you decide if you are ready to reach out for support. The questions and answers you give can help determine your risk for developing a gambling problem.
After learning more about what gambling is and how it may be affecting you, you may want to reach out for more support. The Problem Gambling Resource Centers are here to help. They can connect you to support groups, clinicians or provide you with more educational materials. Whatever the case, they are happy to talk with you and explore your options. Call 1-833-437-3864 or visit NYProblemGamblingHELP.org to find the resource center in your region.