Mental Health and Gambling

Gambling involves risking something of value on an event that is largely determined by chance in the hope of realising a gain. It has been around in most societies since prerecorded history and is often incorporated into local customs, traditions and rites of passage.

It is a highly addictive activity and can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress and depression, and there is a strong link between gambling problems and poor mental health. Many people who gamble do so to escape from difficult emotional situations or as a way of distracting themselves when they are angry or upset. In the long run this can be very damaging and it is important to address these issues before continuing to gamble.

Getting sucked into the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of gambling can alter the normal system of rewards in the brain, and it is important to be aware that these changes can affect everyday life, including how you feel about food, sex and other activities. The good news is that these can be reversed by addressing the problem and finding different ways to get pleasure in your day to day life.

Gambling can also be very socially isolating and it can make a person feel guilty about their actions and decisions. This can cause them to lie about their gambling and hide evidence of it, which can cause strain on relationships with family and friends.