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Qrius: The impact of gambling on mental health

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    Gambling is an activity that takes place in almost all regions of the world. Indians especially love to gamble. People play it for various reasons. Some play for the fun and excitement for some people while for others it could be to enjoy the competition against other players.

    Also, some people see the huge cash prizes offered as a way to escape financial problems and try all they can to win while they play. A few others see it as a way to escape from their worries and stress.

    Over the last few years, we have witnessed a rapid increase of online casinos in India. What is even more fascinating is how well adjusted they are to Indian players. You can now play with Indian Rupees on online casinos, making the entry barrier to gambling smaller. This has led to an increase in gambling activities in the country.

    Whatever the reason for gambling, it ultimately has some effect on us. It could be positive and it could be negative. It all depends on the gambler and the circumstances surrounding him.

    There are two major types of regular gamblers; one is those who gamble moderately or sensibly and those who are addicted to gambling. Those who gamble moderately see it more like a form of gaming and fun while those addicted have developed a problem with it.

    Let�s discuss the mental effects gambling could have on these two types of people.

    Effects of moderate or sensible gambling on mental health

    1. Gambling can help to increase your focus and mental alertness

    Gambling involve strategies and tricks. A moderate gambler is under no pressure or form of compulsion. He takes his time to apply these strategies and even develop more strategies. He also takes his time to learn new skills that could help to win the game.

    Practicing focus and strategies on the games do not end there but will also help you to focus and develop strategies for other areas of life.

    2. Improves your decision-making skills

    When gambling, you have to make many decisions. You have to decide on the bets to make, which moves to make, and when to stop. You make many quick decisions when you play games and may pay dearly for making the wrong moves. Hence, you take proper care in deciding when gambling. It can help you in making decisions in other aspects of life.

    3. Improves brain power

    Casino games like slots, poker, rummy, teen patti require a lot of attention and this stimulates the neurological networks within your brain. The games engage the brain to play and involve it in every process.

    Mental effects of being addicted to gambling

    1. It could lead to depression

    An addicted gambler spends more money than he should on gambling. Most times, this causes such a person to lose a lot of money which further results in depression. The gambler goes broke after losing a lot of money or may even run into debt. It could lead to severe emotional and physical breakdown.

    2. It could lead to disorder and serious health problems

    When people start to gamble uncontrollably, it could lead to pathological gambling. Pathological gambling is also known as compulsive gambling and is a condition where the gambler continues to gamble despite the negative consequences gambling has caused to him. When this continues for a long time, it could lead to chronic stress which can also result in further physical consequences such as hypertension.

    3. Gambling addiction leads to strained relationships with other people.

    When gambling becomes a problem, it could make the gambler lose interest in maintaining personal relationships with people. The gambler becomes preoccupied with gambling only and isolates himself from other people to keep gambling.

    It causes strained relationships and a feeling of separation from other people. Also, it could lead to a feeling of shame or guilt which can overwhelm the gambler eventually. This is because the gambler may have borrowed money from other people and may not be able to return it. It keeps driving them away from people until they lose connection with other people completely.

    4. It leads to a loss of interest in other activities

    When a person gets addicted to gambling, he becomes less interested in other social activities. He stops thinking about other hobbies and gambling dominates the thinking even when he isn�t playing games. Some people could even see themselves gambling in their sleep and find themselves thinking of their next game once they are awake.

    How to keep your gambling moderate

    We have seen the results of gambling moderately and addictive gambling. It is obvious that the best way to gamble is to gamble moderately. However, there�s a thin line between these two. One could easily cross from gambling moderately to being addicted if one isn�t careful.� Here are a few tips to help you maintain the balance:

    • Have fun

    Do not see gambling as a form of making money. Instead, see it as a way of having fun. This will ensure you do not take it as a do or die affair.

    • Limit the time you spend gambling

    Do not spend all time gambling without partaking in other activities. Only spend reasonable time playing gambling games.

    • Always set a budget and stick to your budget

    Place a limit to the amount you can spend on gambling. Don�t spend more than you are ready to lose. This will ensure you don�t put yourself under unnecessary pressure to make money.

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