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The Relationship Between Gambling and Mental Health Issues

October is home to National Mental Health Awareness Week. While these seven days are designated to educate people about mental health issues, it’s important that the other 358 follow suit. This movement’s goal is to let everybody know that mental illness is not equated to personal weakness. According to Neva Pryor, Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, The National Alliance on Mental Illness’ website encourages everybody to see the person for who they are and not for their illness.

Did You Know? 1 in 5 Americans lives with a mental health condition. You or somebody you know likely deals with mental illness every day, and needs compassion, empathy and understanding. What they don’t need is judgment, criticism or a stigma.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey are taking the pledge to be #StigmaFree, and you can, too.

  • Together we can promote acceptance.
  • Together we can actively challenge negative social stereotypes.
  • Together we can shift the social and systemic barriers for those living with mental health conditions.
  • Together we can encourage understanding through powerful words and meaningful actions.

Share your #StigmaFree images, posts, and support on every platform. Inspire others through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat.

How does mental health relate to gambling?

  • In one of our previous blog posts, “How Gambling Affects Your Health,” we discuss how gambling can cause mental stress ranging from anxiety to depression and suicidal thoughts. Combining preexisting mental health disorders can multiply these side effects and lead to gambling spiraling out of control.

  • The correlation between problem gambling and mental health issues is complicated. Sometimes gambling can lead to mental health problems, and sometimes the sequence occurs in reverse order.

Picture This: You’ve been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for five years. You’ve found a great regimen of treatment that has been working. Your best childhood friend is getting married, and you are invited to the bachelor(ette) party in Atlantic City. Everything is going fine until the group decides to post up at the roulette table.

You think to yourself, “I should probably sit this round out. I am living paycheck to paycheck and a financial loss would really set me back.” You maintain your composure. You sit back and watch your friends gamble for hours on end while you take advantage of the complimentary cocktails. “Am I the only one no having fun? One or two bets can’t hurt,” you think to yourself.


 (Blog Image Source – Roulette Table)

You decide to join the crowd and play a few spins. You exchange your hard-earned $100 bill for some plastic chips and after a few wagers (some winning and some losing) you up the stakes. “This is easy. I am having fun, and I only lost $50,” you say to the stranger to your left.

Fast forward one hour, two drinks and three ATM withdrawals. The fun has stopped, and so has the winning streak. Your group heads back to the hotel rooms, and you are having second thoughts. “Was that $1,000 worth the rush? Was that the cost of fitting in?” You may even justify the decision to yourself and conjure a plan to win back your losses in a different type of game (i.e. sports gambling in East Rutherford, NJ, or in Atlantic City).

Everybody is going to sleep, but your mind is uneasy. You realize that you have to tell your roommates about losing next month’s rent and the stress snowballs into intense anxiety. You can’t sleep. You can barely breathe. “Oh no. Please. No. Not here. I can’t have a panic attack here.” Unfortunately, it’s too late. Your fate has been decided for you, and your mental health issue is rearing its ugly head…

In conclusion:

  • Don’t let the bright lights and peer pressure trigger your recurring mental health issues. Whether you have a health issue or gambling addiction, help is available.

  • Situations like the one above do not have to affect you or your loved ones ever again. There is hope. For more information on our services and the relationship between mental health and gambling, call 1-800-GAMBLER.

Our support team is available 24 hours a day, and we are here for you, your friends, or anybody who needs help handling problematic gambling and sports betting around East Rutherford, NJ.