Gambling and Mood Disorders

Gambling is the betting or staking of something of value on an event that is uncertain, with awareness of the risk and in the hope of winning something else of value. This can be as simple as placing a bet on a football game or buying lottery tickets, as it can also involve more sophisticated casino gambling where the gambler is seeking a profit based on skill and strategy. The act of gambling can be seen as a form of recreation or entertainment, but it can also lead to serious problems and even incarceration.

Some individuals have a tendency to engage in gambling to the extent that it becomes problematic and addictive. This is referred to as problem gambling (PgD). PgD is a serious mental health condition characterized by impaired control over money and other types of assets, a preoccupation with the activity, significant loss of interest in normal daily activities, and denial of the nature of the problem.

While most people consider gambling to be an enjoyable activity, a small number of individuals have the potential to develop a gambling disorder that can have devastating consequences for them and their families (Abbott, Volberg & Stevens, 2012). The prevalence of problem gambling has increased worldwide as governments allow the legalization of more forms of gambling.

Gambling takes many forms, ranging from private social gambling to public casino gaming. Social gambling can be as simple as playing card games or board games with friends for a few dollars, or it may involve placing bets on sports events like horse races and football games. Those who are skilled at these activities and can make a living from them are known as professional gamblers.

The biggest step in overcoming a gambling addiction is admitting that there is a problem. The second is setting goals and making changes in your life to help you cope with your urges. It is helpful to talk about your struggles with a trusted person who won’t judge you. The therapists at BetterHelp can help you get on the road to recovery from gambling addiction and other mood disorders. Take our assessment and get matched with a therapist today.