The issues related to gambling and gambling in itself is a global phenomenon that is constantly increasing in terms of the number of new people who become hooked on it. The level of accessibility to gambling activities is at an all-time high so there is a great need for the government and private stakeholders responsible for its continuous growth to ensure that there are adequate orientation and awareness of the risks and dangers involved in it.
“Just like our feelings give us information about our needs, so do our bodies through physiological feedback,” –Eliza Chamblin, LCSW
Those actively involved in providing and allowing (especially the government) gambling services need to ensure that when their clients unavoidably become hooked or addicted to gambling that it is adequate up to date research, treatment facility and so on. Ultimately, the onus is on the government to ensure that its citizens are aware of the dangers of gambling so that they are able to make informed decisions and prevent themselves from getting addicted to gambling.
The problems associated or caused directly by gambling addiction can be very adverse and may have long-lasting effects on the family, relationships, finance, work and even the society at large. Though, a psychiatrist Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones wants to be specific when she said, “Families suffer terribly from gambling. They lose homes, the kids become depressed. This is not the worst case by any means.”
Research has shown that gambling is associated with a number of physical, mental and emotional health issues. Some of the physical issues linked with gambling include muscular tension, insomnia, colitis, high blood pressure, fatigue, heart disease, migraines, stomach ailments, and skin problems. Some of the mental problems include obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity, depression, manic and clinical depression and a decline in self-worth. It should be noted that most gamblers are likely to result in smoking and drinking habits which create other health problems.
Heart Disease: Gambling pre-exposes you to a wide range of heart conditions which include blood vessel diseases like the coronary artery disease and also heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias). Due to the high pressure that comes with gambling, the risks of the blood vessels constricting or getting blocked increases greatly, chest pains, stroke, and heart attack can also occur.
High Blood Pressure: Hypertension is one of the most likely consequences of gambling. When the body is always anxious and stressed trying to figure out the outcomes and the looking forward to a favorable one even though most times it turns out to be the opposite.
Muscular Tension: This is common for gamblers and those who place their valuables on the outcome of specific events. This tension is produced as a result of the cross-bridges formed between the actin and the myosin filaments in each muscle fiber of the body, the resultant force acts on the bones through the tendons and connective tissues causing external tension.
Insomnia: The inability to sleep which is very crucial to the body can be an effect of compulsive gambling. Staying up all night can seriously affect your physical wellbeing making you fatigued and drowsy. The consequence of chronic insomnia can be very adverse as it will lead to diabetes, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and so on. Witht that, Staci Lee Schnell, MS, CS, LMFT emphasizes that “Patients who experience continued insomnia are less likely to respond to medication and psychotherapy treatment than those without sleep problems.”
Consistent Gambling simply increases the risk of hypertension by ensuring that your blood pressure is over the healthy limit which can lead to heart diseases, kidney diseases, and even stroke.
Migraines: Gambling requires that you are always playing the odds in your head even before you place your bets. Recurrent headaches are one of those health issues gamblers have to deal with. It is usually characterized by a sharp, throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head which can be disabling.
Fatigue: The feeling of exhaustion, lack of energy and lack of motivation is quite common among gamblers.
Colitis: the inflammation of the inner lining of the colon commonly called colitis is another physical health issue that can be triggered by excessive gambling.