Gambling and Mood Disorders


Gambling is betting money or something else of value on the outcome of an event involving chance, such as a football match or a scratchcard. If you predict the result correctly, you win money; if not, you lose. It’s important to remember that gambling is not risk-free and it can be addictive.

Gambling can send massive surges of dopamine through your brain, which may make you feel good for a short while but can actually be harmful. It can also distract you from doing the things you need to do, like work and look after your health. In the long term, it can also change your brain chemistry and you might need to gamble more and more to get the same high.

This article uses data from the National Survey of Youth and Gambling (NSYG), a random-digit-dial telephone survey conducted among U.S. residents aged 14-21. Interviews were conducted from August 2005 through January 2007.

People with a gambling disorder have trouble controlling their urges, even though they are aware of the problem and try to stop. They are often secretive about their gambling habits and lie to their families about their activity. It is important to see a counsellor or therapist who can help you think about how gambling affects your life and consider alternatives. Counselling can also help treat any underlying mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety, which can be triggered by or made worse by gambling.