How Gambling Affects Your Mental Health

Gambling involves placing a bet on an event, such as a football match or scratchcard. The bet is matched to ‘odds’ set by the betting company, which determine how much you could win if your choice was successful. These odds are based on a combination of luck and skill. However, some people are vulnerable to gambling problems, and may be prone to betting more money than they can afford to lose. This can lead to debt and, in some cases, financial crises. If you’re concerned about debt, speak to StepChange for free and confidential debt advice.

Gambling can also be dangerous to your mental health. It can cause feelings of anxiety and depression, and can contribute to other mental health conditions like anxiety or stress. It can also become addictive.

It’s important to seek help if you feel that your gambling is getting out of control. Speak to a trusted family member, friend or professional counsellor for support. Alternatively, try to find other ways of spending your time that don’t involve gambling. It’s also worth trying to reduce any other risk factors that may be contributing to your gambling problem, for example by controlling how much cash you’re using, and never borrowing or carrying large amounts of money with you.

There are no medications that are specifically approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat gambling disorder, but there are several types of psychotherapy that can be helpful. These include psychodynamic therapy, which looks at unconscious processes that influence behaviour, and group therapy, which is a form of psychotherapy in which a small group of people meet to discuss their issues under the guidance of a mental health professional.