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Exploring the Relationship Between Problem Gambling and Depression

In the past, 800-GAMBLER has discussed various topics ranging from the importance of mental health during COVID-19 to the link between problem gamblers and suicide. Since the month of October is formally recognized as Depression Awareness Month, we thought it would be apropos to focus on one of the most common mood disorders in the U.S.

As described by the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects individuals of all ages and from all walks of life. It causes mental anguish, impacting people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with potentially devastating consequences for relationships with friends and family and the ability to earn a living. If you or someone you know has faced a gambling problem, some of the descriptors may sound familiar.

It’s essential to consider both depression and problem gambling when seeking treatment, as each can intensify symptoms of the other. If you are feeling depressed, you’ll be looking for a mood boost — and the thought of winning big may seem like an easy solution. Rest assured that you’re not alone:

Signs of Depression

An individual may have depression if they experience one or more of the following:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Increased irritability, restlessness, or social isolation
  • Feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing
  • Compromised sleep or appetite

Much like problem gambling, depression isn’t always apparent. After all, we undergo some of these emotions or “funks” from time to time. However, when these negative feelings are consistently piled high — detrimentally so — it may be time to talk to a professional.

Problem Gambling and Depression: A Detrimental Symbiosis

Perhaps you understand that a depressive episode drove you to gamble in the first place — or make a regrettable return. Maybe normal gambling behavior led to problem behaviors that eventually drove you into a state of complete hopelessness. Alternatively, the jury could be out — when it comes to an unrelenting whirlwind of problem gambling and depression, you may feel like you’re in a “chicken or the egg” scenario. However, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck forever.

October may be Depression Awareness Month, but we at 800-GAMBLER understand that the effects on your day-to-day life aren’t exclusive to 31 days. If you or an individual close to you has a gambling problem, reach out to our confidential helpline today.

Sources:

https://www.algamus.org/blog/problem-gambling-depression

https://www.gamblinghelponline.org.au/understanding-gambling/impact-on-health/gambling-and-depression

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