Gambling: The risks
You may have had a small bet for fun before, but some people who start gambling as a fun pastime are at risk of developing an addiction.
Gambling addictions can negatively impact a person’s relationships, finances and mental health. It becomes especially dangerous when people start risking amounts of money that they do not have or cannot afford to lose.
Gambling can be very addictive, even for gamblers that regularly lose, because of the way that it affects the brain.
Signs that someone might have a gambling problem include:
- Regularly talking about gambling, gambling winnings or gambling debt
- Mood-swings if they are not able to gamble
- Unexplained or regular borrowing of money from friends or family
- Unwillingness/inability to repay borrowed money
- Being more distant from family and friends than usual
If gambling negatively affects a person’s life in any of these ways, but the person continues to gamble, then they might have a gambling problem. This is sometimes known as ‘problem gambling’.
I’m worried about myself, a friend or family member – what should I do?
Confidential support services for if you’re worried about your own gambling, or the gambling of someone close to you:
- Call the Young People Support Service for free on 0203 092 6964. The team is made up of highly trained practitioners specialising in supporting young people and parents affected by gambling.
- BigDeal’s 24-hour live chat for anyone experiencing problems with gambling.
- You can call the National Gambling HelpLine, operated by GamCare, on Freephone 0808 8020 133.
How to get help
If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.