Public Health Approach to Gambling

Gambling is a popular leisure time activity that has both positive and negative impacts for individuals, their significant others and society. A public health approach to gambling focuses on the impact of the activity at three levels: personal, interpersonal and community/society.

Gambling involves risking something of value on an event whose outcome is determined by chance. It also requires consideration of the consequences and the ability to control impulsivity. These skills are often compromised by genetic factors that influence brain reward system activation and sensitivity, as well as by mental illness.

People gamble for a variety of reasons, from socialization and skill development to relaxation and financial power. Regardless of the motive, gambling can have negative effects on one’s mental and physical health. However, there are some ways to minimize the negative impacts of gambling. The first step is to understand what makes a person vulnerable to problem gambling.

The human brain is hard-wired for thrills, and there are many ways to feel that rush. From playing games of chance to eating a hot dog, we can all experience the pleasure that comes from risk-taking and reward. But it’s important to keep in mind that these feelings can be addictive and may lead to other mood disorders. If you find yourself relying on gambling to cope with unpleasant emotions, seek help for underlying mood disorders, such as depression, stress and substance abuse. This can help you learn to reduce your gambling behaviors and develop healthier coping strategies.