Gambling and Mental Health Problems


Gambling is an activity in which individuals risk something of value — usually money — on the outcome of an event whose result is determined by chance. This activity can take many forms, including lottery tickets, scratch-offs, video poker, blackjack, roulette and sports betting. People gamble for a variety of reasons, from the adrenaline rush to socialising or escaping stress and anxiety. But when someone becomes addicted to gambling, it can lead to financial problems, strained relationships and even depression and other mental health issues.

If you are worried about your own gambling habits or those of a loved one, seek help. It’s free and confidential. You can speak to a counsellor on our website or phone our helpline.

The link between gambling and mental health problems is complex. Some studies have found that people with mood disorders are more likely to develop a gambling problem, while other research has found that gambling can worsen depression and other symptoms. In some cases, the problem can be reversed if the underlying depression or other disorder is treated.

To avoid a gambling addiction, make sure you are only betting with money you can afford to lose. Also, be aware of the odds and don’t rely on the “gambler’s fallacy,” which is the belief that you are due for a win and will recover your losses soon. Also, never borrow money to gamble, as this can make the problem much more serious.