Health is the first core need – and one of the foundations. When we are in good health, and taking time to look after ourselves, we are generally more resilient to stress and bounce back from adverse life events.
Taking care of ourselves is also an important part of self worth – by treating our bodies and minds with respect, we are building healthy self esteem and making sure we can withstand what life throws at us.
So how does health relate to problem gambling?
Health problems can be a factor in problem gambling, with people with physical barriers using gambling to distract themselves from pain or disability. Kim, 49, found that after she was injured in a workplace accident she was limited in her activities, and was diagnosed with depression by her doctor. She soon found her gambling spiralling out of control:
‘While I was off work I had a lot of spare time, and I found myself visiting the pokies more and more. It was a distraction from the pain and stress that I was going through with my employers.’
Gambling problems can also affect health – a person who is living with a gambling problem may find that they neglect their exercise regime in order to spend more time on gambling. They can also feel depressed and anxious as debts pile up and they feel more out of control. John, 27, found that his health went downhill while he was struggling with a gambling problem:
I used to go to the gym three times a week, but when I started gambling again I stopped that. I would eat fast food because I didn’t have time or money to prepare meals, and I constantly felt tired and stressed out about everything.’
Getting your health back on track is one piece of the puzzle, but it is an important factor. If you’ve identified mental or physical health as contributing to your gambling, it may help you to talk to a trained counsellor to get some support. Click on the link below to find out more: