How Gambling Affects Your Health and Relationships

Gambling involves risking money or something of value in the hope of gaining something of more value, such as winning the lottery or betting on sports events. It ranges from lotteries and scratch-off tickets to casino games like poker, blackjack, and roulette. People may gamble recreationally for fun, or professionally as a way to make money (if they are skillful).

Gambling can be a problem when it interferes with work and family life or becomes a habit. It also can have a negative impact on your health and relationships, especially if you use gambling as an escape or to self-soothe unpleasant emotions such as anxiety, depression or boredom. If you’re concerned about your gambling habits, counseling can help. You can connect with a mental health provider through AcademicLiveCare, our online platform that provides virtual counseling and psychiatry services to all CU Boulder students, staff and faculty. You can also find support through the National Problem Gambling Helpline or Gamtalk, an anonymous peer-based support network.

Some people are more prone to gambling problems because of their financial circumstances, depression, or the way they think about money. Other people are influenced by the media, which often portrays gambling as glamorous, sexy and exciting. Regardless of the reason, there are healthier ways to relieve unpleasant feelings and manage stress, such as exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, and practicing relaxation techniques.