Gambling Awareness Project Sheffield

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition in your brain which can affect children and carry on into adulthood.

Having ADHD means your brain works differently to how someone else’s might work. There might be changes in the way your brain controls how much or how little you concentrate, how well you can control impulses, and how you can regulate your emotions.

These are only a few examples but people with ADHD might:

  • Getting distracted easily?
  • Finding it difficult to make friends?
  • Performing at a low level academically?
  • Unable to control your emotions?
  • Feeling restless? (e.g., fidgeting, can’t sleep properly)
  • Forgetting to do things?
  • Impulsively doing things without thinking?
  • Having racing thoughts?

 

If you have a diagnosis you might:

  • Get personalised teaching at school
  • Have extra time for exams
  • Get access to extra support in a work setting
  • Get help from medical professionals (to talk, for treatment etc.)

 

But how does ADHD relate to gambling-related harm?

Firstly, gambling-related harm is the term used to explain the harms related to behavior of someone who gambles. This can affect our mental health, relationships, finances and how well we perform at school, college or university. Research has shown people with ADHD are more likely to experience gambling-related harm.

Young people with ADHD are more likely to experience gambling-related harm because

  1. They are more likely to experience impulsive behaviors
  2. Gambling might be something someone uses to cope from struggles like mental health issues, social difficulties and isolation

 

What is impulsive behavior?

A behavior is impulsive when you do it without forethought and without considering the consequences.  An example of this is when you run across the road without looking, buy something without thinking about the cost of it, or say something you didn’t mean to say! This can impact gambling behaviors as it might make someone more likely spend more time and money than they planned to while gambling.

 

Why do some people gamble as a way to cope?

Some young people may turn to gambling as a way to cope with feelings they may feel like they may not be able to cope with in other ways. It is easy to forget the best ways to look after ourselves, but when you feel like you don’t have control or you don’t have a say, just remember that you do – and there are many ways to take care of yourself.

 

Try these next time you feel overwhelmed:

  • Art – drawing, painting
  • Finding new hobbies – a sport, games, an instrument
  • Catching up with friends
  • Going for walks in nature
  • Meeting new people – e.g., through clubs, volunteering, activities
  • Journaling your thoughts
  • Breathing techniques

 

Preventing and reducing gambling-related harm if you have ADHD

As discussed if you have ADHD you might be more likely to experience gambling-related harm.

Below we have included a few suggestions…

  • Be cautious that you are not being influenced by advertising to spend / time or money on gambling impulsively
  • Set limits for yourself if you gamble
  • Do not gamble alone if you do
  • When you feel the urge to gamble, try to replace it with other past times that will satisfy you like journaling your thoughts, volunteering, learning a new hobby etc.
  • Control your money – bank accounts like Monzo have features which allow you to set money aside in pots and lock it away for a set time controlled by yourself
  • Make sure you set boundaries for yourself and between others
  • Never gamble if feel emotional or as a way to escape feelings