Don’t Gamble with the Winter Blues

Quite often, disordered gamblers also struggle with other psychiatric conditions. In fact, disordered gambling has an over 96% comorbidity rate with other issues like anxiety, depression, and substance use. These conditions can feed into each other, posing a greater challenge for treatment than they would alone.

One such condition, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), rises to prominence around this time of year. As winter marches on and the daylight hours grow shorter, more and more people experience this form of depression. Factors like reduced sunlight and disrupted sleep cycles due to the change in seasons can lead to the development of SAD. Symptoms of this disorder include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Low energy
  • Problems sleeping
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts

Many disordered gamblers — about 76% — experience depression to some degree. For some, this psychological disorder may cause them to turn to outlets like gambling. Activities like casino gambling in Atlantic City may be a welcome respite to the boredom, loneliness, or general malaise that people with depression experience. On the other hand, depression can also result from one’s frustration or inability to cope with their disordered gambling. Both of these conditions often go hand-in-hand, exacerbating each other’s symptoms.

Thankfully, the treatments that help individuals with SAD remain effective, whether or not they also struggle with disordered gambling.

Light Therapy

Naturally, one of the best ways to combat a disorder brought on by the change in seasons is light therapy. Reduced sunlight in the winter months may interfere with the body’s production of serotonin and melatonin, chemicals that regulate mood and wakefulness, respectively. The use of a lightbox can help to address these imbalances.


Antidepressant drugs have also proven effective for some individuals in the treatment of SAD. This kind of medication directly addresses the irregular production of neurotransmitters like serotonin to alleviate the symptoms of depression. Although they do not cure depression — at the moment, no medication can — they help to restore emotional balance in those struggling with depressive disorders.


Therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy have proven, long-term benefits. With the assistance of a psychiatric professional, individuals can learn to identify and address harmful thought patterns. This kind of treatment can reduce the length of depressive episodes by providing coping tools to better manage the symptoms of depression.

If you or a loved one seem to struggle more with sports betting in Atlantic City during the winter months, it may be a sign that they are struggling with a disorder like SAD. For support, treatment, and hope, call our hotline at 1-800-GAMBLER.


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