Gambling and depression

Gambling can take a toll not only on your finances but also on your physical and emotional health. How have you been feeling over the last few weeks?

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Have you been feeling flat?

Lacking in energy?

Have you been feeling hopeless or helpless?

Have you been feeling distant from other people?

Do you find that nothing has seemed to be able to cheer you up?

Are you having difficulty falling asleep or do you keep waking up in the night?

Has your appetite declined and have you lost weight? Or are you eating more than usual and gained weight?

Has your sexual interest declined?

Have you been dwelling on thoughts that your gambling will never get better?

If you answered yes to any these questions, there is a chance you may be experiencing symptoms of clinical depression. I know this may sound serious – but it’s okay because you are not alone and help is available.

Many people experience symptoms of depression so you are definitely not alone! In fact, it is estimated that 1 in every 4 people experience significantly depressed mood at some time in their life. Research studies have shown that being a gambler actually increases the chance of having depression. A study by Cunningham-Williams and his colleagues in 1998 found that, simply gambling, not including any gambling-related problems (such as financial-stress, marital stress) was related to feeling depressed and having depression. Simply put…if you gamble, you are more likely to feel depressed!

This isn’t surprising as many gamblers report feeling down, guilty, helpless and/or hopeless, especially after losing money. It is normal for people’s moods to fluctuate – that is, sometimes you will feel better and sometimes you feel worse. Your mood may lift when you experience something positive and may drop when you experience a disappointment (such as losing money). Gambling can create a lot of stressful situations, such as losing money, financial stress, secrets from family members and friends, feelings of guilt, problems at work… the list goes on. It would be completely normal for someone’s mood to drop as a result of these things. While you are still gambling, your mood is likely to keep on fluctuating as these stressors are likely to still be there. The best thing you can do to improve your mood is to seek help from a qualified professional who can help you with both your gambling and symptoms of depression.

As you can see, it’s common for gamblers to feel low or depressed. But the good news is, help is available for assistance with both gambling and depression. If you think you are having trouble with gambling and/or depression, help is available. Call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 to speak with a gambling counsellor. Free individual sessions are available to anybody who might be concerned their gambling has gotten out of hand.

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