Why Gambling Can Be Harmful and How CBT Can Help


For some, gambling can be a fun way to pass the time, but for others it has the potential to damage physical and mental health, disrupt relationships, affect performance at work or study, leave them in serious debt or even cause suicide. It can also have a ripple effect on those around them, affecting their family and friends.

The problem with gambling is that it is inherently risky, and while some people may be lucky enough to win a lot of money, the majority of gamblers will lose. This is because gambling involves chance, and no matter how many times a person spins the roulette wheel or rolls the dice, they will never know what the outcome will be.

In addition, gambling can trigger feelings of excitement and euphoria, which can lead to dangerous behaviours such as overspending on credit cards or casino comps (free cocktails, meals etc). People with gambling problems can often spend more time than they intend, cancelling other plans or sacrificing work, school, social or family commitments in order to gamble. They can exhibit signs of addiction such as chasing their losses, exaggerated display of wealth or possessions, lying to others and spending more time than usual chatting to colleagues or friends about betting.

For these reasons, it is important to understand why a loved one might develop an unhealthy relationship with gambling. The good news is that this can be treated, in the same way as other forms of addiction, with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).