Stress is a normal reaction to everyday pressures, but it can become a problem if it starts to disrupt your day-to-day functioning. According to the American Psychological Association, more than three-quarters of adults report physical or emotional symptoms of stress, such as headaches, feeling tired, or changes in sleeping habits.
For most individuals, gambling can be a fun and safe form of entertainment or a way to “blow off steam.” But when someone at-risk turns to gambling to ease the stressors of everyday life, it can quickly become a problem.
April is Stress Awareness Month, a time of year dedicated to looking at stress and its effect on people. As such, Before You Bet wants to provide readers with some healthy ways to de-stress, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and give yourself a break if you feel stressed out.
- Talk to others. Share your problems or how you are feeling with a parent, friend, counselor, or doctor.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. These may seem to help in the moment, but they can create additional problems and amplify the stress you are already feeling.
- Take a break. If social media or current events are causing you stress, take a break from those media outlets.
- Recognize when you need more help. If your stress or anxiety continues to escalate or you are thinking about suicide, reach out to a professional.
If you are turning to gambling to cope with stress and think it might be leading to a problem with gambling know you’re not alone.
If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, free help is always available. You can call the Problem Gambling Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-589-9966 or by texting 4HOPE to 741741.
There are also free local resources available at BeforeYouBet.org where you can learn about the signs of problem gambling and take the 2-minute quiz to gauge your risk level.