Many people think about gambling and they automatically get concerned. The ties between gambling addiction and the industry as a whole are strong and can make many people nervous just by thinking about it. But, is it possible to lead a healthy life and still gamble from time to time? The answer is yes.

Gambling is similar in a lot of ways to things like alcohol or enjoying less-than-healthy foods; it is possible to have these things in your life without ever experiencing a problem. However, there are key differences between gambling in a way that is healthy, and crossing into addiction territory. To help you see the difference, consider these points below.

Gambling Responsibly

While it might not be wise to think that gambling is ever a “safe” activity based on the fact that money and risk are involved, it is possible to gamble responsibly. Often, this involves having a full awareness of the risks, including the fact that the odds are distinctly not in your favor. Additionally, limiting the amount of funds spent based on the amount you can afford to lose can also allow a person to gamble without putting oneself in harm’s way.

When done responsibly, gambling can be just like any other form of entertainment that involves spending money for an experience without necessarily getting anything tangible in return. For example, if instead of going to the movie theater, you decide to spend the same amount at a casino, then you might be acting responsibly, especially if you are not canceling plans with those close to you in favor of gambling alone.

Can Gambling be Part of a Healthy Life? Yes, It Can

Problem Gambling

Gambling can be considered a problem at any point once the activity causes significant harm to one’s life. For example, if you stop visiting friends and family, preferring to gamble alone instead, this can be a warning sign. Additionally, spending money gambling that you can’t actually afford to lose is another sign of trouble.

Some more serious signs can include inflated highs when you win and serious depression when you lose. Also, not believing that you are “truly living” unless you are gambling is also a point of concern. Further, if you find yourself ashamed of your actions, and actively trying to hide the activity from friends, family members, or other important people in your life, this could indicate you have begun to have problems with gambling.

However, if you ever participate in illegal activity to help support your gambling habit, then it is almost certain that you have a serious problem and need help. Additionally, if you have stopped paying your bills or managing other expenses, like to cost of food, and instead use that money to gamble, it is best to seek help immediately.

What to Do

In cases where you are gambling responsibly, there is not much need to worry about an occasional trip to a casino or spending time online playing bitcoin blackjack. Just make sure that the activity is only occasional, and that you aren’t risking any more money than you can safely afford to lose.

However, if gambling is interfering with your life, or putting you or your family at risk, then seek the help of a professional immediately. Problem gambling does not have to take over your life. Help is available.