Gambling and Mood Disorders


Gambling involves risking something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome. It can involve a game of chance or a skillful application of knowledge and strategy. In addition to the excitement and potential rewards of winning, gambling evokes many human emotions and behaviours that can be harmful to people with mood disorders.

For example, a person who is addicted to gambling can experience depression, stress and anxiety. These mood disorders can trigger or be made worse by compulsive gambling and can contribute to problems at work, in relationships and in financial situations.

Problem gamblers often hide their gambling activity from family and friends or lie about it. They can become secretive and irritable when trying to stop gambling or cutting back on their involvement. They may also feel the need to gamble in increasing amounts of money to achieve a particular level of excitement, or they may continue to gamble after losing significant sums of money in a desperate attempt to make up for lost losses (“chasing” their losses).

The effects of gambling on individuals and communities are complex and varied. Research tends to focus on the economic costs of gambling. Consequently, information about the social costs of gambling is sometimes inconsistent and anecdotal. Bankruptcy records and published news accounts provide a glimpse into the problem gambling costs, but they are based on region-specific data and are often based on estimates of losses that are not adjusted for differences in the cost of living.

Posted in: Gambling