Gambling and Mood Disorders


Gambling addiction can damage a person’s entire family, both emotionally and financially. It is a growing problem in the world, with gambling revenues rising worldwide. The United States only legalized gambling in Nevada in 1974, and the amount of money won by residents was only $17.3 billion, but by 1995, that number was estimated to be more than half a trillion dollars. Gambling in Europe is widespread, and countries like Britain and Albania instituted state lotteries.

Problem gamblers have other behavior and mood disorders

The relationship between problem gambling and other behavior and mood disorders may be complex. It is possible that some problem gamblers experience mild to moderate mood disorders before they begin to gamble. Others use gambling to escape painful events, overcome affective anaesthesia, or alleviate depression. Other problem gamblers develop serious depressive and anxiety disorders. The underlying causes of problem gambling and their relation to other problems are still unknown.

This study examined the relationship between personality traits and the occurrence of mood disorders in problem gamblers. It found that problem gamblers with mood disorders were significantly more likely to have co-occurring mood disorders, were older, and female. They also showed increased scores on three UPPS subscales: lack of premeditation, high level of urgency, and low level of sensation seeking. The authors concluded that gambling severity was associated with other personality characteristics, including alienation.

They harm their families

Gambling is a common problem for many people in Canada. Gambling addiction can cause significant harm to spouses, children, employers, and co-workers. Gamblers can also cause physical, psychological, and emotional deprivation. Gambling addiction has also been linked to higher rates of domestic violence and child abuse. Many of the family members of people with gambling problems will be the first to suffer the effects of the addiction.

When a problem gambler becomes cornered, arguments can escalate to violence and even abuse. Children may try to defuse tensions or be pawns in squabbles. And the larger the losses, the greater the danger to family members. Luckily, help is available to help problem gamblers. You can even get help for your own family members by referring them to a gambling counselor.