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Observing Mental Health Awareness Month: How Disordered Gambling and Mental Health Affect One Another

The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) is taking part in Mental Health Awareness Month by sharing insight on mental illness and offering assistance to individuals and families in New Jersey in need.

As mental illness and disordered gambling often negatively contribute to one another, we at the CCGNJ feel it is necessary to spread awareness and offer our support in every way we can.

In this article, we will discuss mental illness and how it can lead to problem gambling, and vice versa. We will also share resources you can contact for support if you or a loved one has a mental illness or a problem with sports betting in New Jersey.

How Mental Health Affects Disordered Gambling

Mental illness encompasses a wide range of disorders including depression, antisocial personality disorder, and substance use disorder. When a person has one or more mental disorder, they are more susceptible to fall into unhealthy habits, including problematic and disordered behaviors.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “People who [are disordered gamblers] often have substance [use] problems, personality disorders, depression or anxiety.” People who have these mental illnesses often struggle to maintain healthy relationships and social status, which can be key contributors to a gambling disorder.

While mental illness does not always lead a person to gamble, those who do have a mental illness may be more likely than others to develop disordered gambling behaviors. It is critical to reach out for help when you or someone close to you shows signs of mental illness before the situation worsens.

How Disordered Gambling Affects Mental Health

While mental illness can often contribute to a person’s gambling disorder, a routine of sports betting in Atlantic City that gets out of hand can have severe consequences on a person’s mental health.

Not all gamblers are depressed when they begin to gamble. In many cases, a gambling interest starts as a form of entertainment and slowly develops into a disordered behavior over time. When a person’s luck does run out though, it can have a significant effect on their mental health.

A July 1998 study published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) sampled over three thousand adults from St. Louis, MO and compared their histories of mental illness and gambling tendencies. The results showed that those who reported a gambling-related problem were at a significantly increased risk of antisocial personality disorder as well as disordered behaviors like disordered substance use.

When a person’s gambling luck runs out, they often alienate themselves which can lead to depression and other mental illnesses that can, in turn, contribute to their gambling habits.

You’re Not Alone

For many people stuck in this cycle, recovery can seem unattainable. The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey wants you to know you’re not alone. We can help you or your loved ones find help meetings near you that will connect you to other sources of support throughout the recovery process.

For immediate help with your mental illness or gambling disorder, call or text our 24/7 hotline at 800-GAMBLER.