Gambling Mental Health Problems

  1. Gambling Mental Health Problems Issues
  2. Gambling Mental Health Problems Assessment
  3. Gambling Mental Health Problems Elderly
  4. Mental Health Problems Caused By Gambling
  5. Gambling Mental Health Problems Children

This means that between the people struggling with problem gambling and the people closest to them, nearly 6.7 million New Yorkers are affected and may struggle with mental health issues. Mental and physical health problems, financial issues, and conflicts in the family are among the common negative effects of gambling. Six to eight million people in America are estimated to have a gambling problem. Gambling refers to the betting of money on an event with an uncertain outcome, with the intent of winning additional wealth.

Gambling can affect many areas of your life.

GA is not a substitute for professional treatment and anyone with a gambling disorder or affected by someone’s gambling should seek professional help. Many states have problem gambling helplines that can provide referrals to professional treatment providers. The national problem gambling helpline is 1-800-522-4700. With gambling problems among elite athletes and new forms of gambling that may be problematic for this population. Given the potential serious mental health and performance consequences associated with a gambling disorder for athletes, we aim to increase coaches’, athletic directors’ and health professionals’ knowledge concerning. Gambling has long been known to be associated with both debt and family difficulties as well as other mental health problems, such as depression. But the new findings, published in the journal.

Gambling mental health problems children


Are you:

  • Spending more than you want on gambling?
  • Struggling to find the money for bills?
  • Taking out loans to cover gambling debts?

A financial crisis is often what brings a person to address their gambling. It’s also not uncommon for partners, friends or family members to tell us that they did not realise their loved one had a gambling problem until there were serious financial consequences such as a court summons for non-payment of debt, or repossession action on their home.

Financial problems can really mount up, and more quickly than you realise. Bills don’t get paid, credit cards are maxed out, debts accumulate – pay day loans look like a solution, but high interest rates make the situation worse. Borrowing or stealing from loved ones, businesses or employers also happens when people feel increasingly desperate.

It may feel as though there is no chance of repaying your debts unless you carry on gambling – we hear from many people who feel completely trapped by their financial situation. Continuing to gamble will only make debts bigger – clearing debts gradually will take a while, but in reality it’s the only way to manage the problem.

Many problem gamblers have not let anyone know about how much they owe, and it can be daunting to take the step and tell people you trust, but it’s essential if you are ever going to take control and improve the situation.

  • Think about contacting a specialist not for profit debt advice agency. You can find links to other agencies at Links to other support agencies
  • If you’re gambling, unless you get it under control, you’ll find it difficult to get out of debt and stay out of debt in future. So it will also be important to take steps to address your gambling, as well as your debt.
  • Our Advisers can give you more information and advice to help you take the first step – talk to us now.

Mental health

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, problem gamblers are more likely than others to suffer from low self-esteem, develop stress-related disorders, to become anxious, have poor sleep and appetite, to develop a substance misuse problem and to suffer from depression. In this section we explore some of the reasons for this, as well as giving you some advice if this concerns you.

Are you experiencing all or some or all of the following?

  • Extreme emotions or mood swings
  • Feeling that gambling is the only thing you enjoy, to the exclusion of other things
  • Using gambling as a way to deal with other problems or emotions in your life
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling depressed or anxious
  • Having suicidal thoughts

If you answered yes to any of these questions, gambling could be a problem. If you’re not sure how your gambling affecting you at this stage, our self assessment may help.

Although a lot of people gamble to escape feelings of depression or other mental health problems, gambling can actually make these conditions worse.

If you gamble a lot yourself, you may have found the ‘high’ of anticipating ‘the big win’ to be very mentally involving and extremely exciting, perhaps better than the feelings you experience taking part in any other activity. You may also have found the devastation of losing to be a massive low, leading to feelings of despair.

This is especially the case when large amounts of money are being staked, increasing the potential for a massive ‘high’, but also makes the ‘low’ feel worse when it comes. Feelings of loss and despair following a gambling spree can lead to greater desires to gamble straight away in order to try and get back on a ‘high’. However, by continuing to gamble, any negative feelings will only get worse.

The impact of these highs and lows on your mental health can be significant. Studies show that brain chemistry and cell structure can be changed by this type of exposure. The system of ‘rewards’ in the brain can be affected: where previously you might have found pleasure in other activities such as food or sex, you may now find that these don’t hold so much appeal.

The good news is that studies have shown that brain chemistry can be rebalanced, and everyday life can start to feel good again. Finding ways to change your relationship with gambling and getting the right support for yourself can begin this process.

  • Get help

It is important to speak to professionals if you are worried about the impact of gambling on your mental health. Your GP may be the first person you talk to, and they may refer you to specialist services if they feel this will help. If you are not registered with a GP, you can find one local to you at

If you are concerned about your gambling, GamCare has a range of help, advice and support services. To discuss this further, talk to our Advisers now.

  • Problem gambling and suicide

Recent research has shown a strong link between gambling problems and thoughts of suicide – more than double the amount of people affected by gambling problems say that they have considered taking their own life compared to those who are not affected by gambling.

With other addictions, such as drugs or alcohol, there is a limit to how much a person’s body can take before they need medical intervention. Gambling is not like that, and often a downward spiral can continue unchecked for a long time. Especially if large amounts of debt are involved, it can seem as though there is no other option.

Mental health problems caused by gambling

If you have self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts or feelings, it is really important to seek professional help as soon as possible. You can speak to your GP or find NHS support, or you may find the following links useful.

Gambling Mental Health Problems Issues

Don't wait until it seems like life is not worth living. There is help available and you are not on your own.

Samaritans: 116 123 (24-hours) or

Maytree: a charity supporting people in suicidal crisis in a non-medical setting in London. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from a one-off stay in a safe and confidential space, call 020 7263 7070 or email [email protected] Visit for more information.

Rethink Mental Illness: 0300 5000 927 (Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm) or

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – For men aged 15-35:

Bipolar UK:

Gambling Mental Health Problems

Sane: 0845 767 8000 (daily, 6pm-11pm) or email email: [email protected] / visit

Mind: 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm) or

The Mental Health Foundation:

YoungMinds: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-4pm) /

Papyrus: HopelineUK: 0800 068 4141 or


Gambling Mental Health Problems Assessment

Having a gambling problem can be very all-consuming, and as well as the effect on the gamblers themselves, it can have a devastating impact on their relationships with other people. Do you recognise any of the following?

  • Arguing more with your partner or family, especially about money
  • Being preoccupied with gambling and finding it difficult to focus on other things
  • Spending less time with people and more time gambling
  • Lying to friends and family about losses
  • Stealing money from friends or family to gamble with

These are signs that gambling is becoming a problem. Your friends and family may feel like you don’t care about them any more, if all of your time and attention is taken up with gambling. The emotional distance and tension this creates can be devastating in the long term. Lying, breaking promises and constantly missing important events can mean your loved ones lose trust in your relationships, and this is very hard to repair. Your loved ones may also start to feel guilty about the situation, especially if they do not realise that you are gambling – they may think that they are doing something to drive you away.

Problem gambling in a family can also have an effect on children – the impact of stress within the family unit and potential loss of relationship with a parent can have lasting consequences.

Gambling Mental Health ProblemsGambling
  • Get help

Once a problem gambler seeks help and enters recovery there can be an opportunity to re-establish relationships. Rebuilding trust can be a difficult task but relationships can heal once a problem gambler enters recovery. Breaking an addiction is a very difficult process. Recovery takes time, hard work and commitment.

If you are concerned about your gambling or that of a loved one, talk to us. We provide support for gamblers as well as friends and family who are affected, and we can help each person in their own right.

Concerned about a violent relationship?

If you are concerned that your relationship with a problem gambler is becoming extremely unhealthy or even violent, it is important to seek help for yourself. Likewise if you feel your children are impacted in an unhealthy way it is important to take action. The following links can help:

National Domestic Violence Helpline:0808 2000 247 (24 hours) or

Relate: 0300 100 1234 or


Gambling Mental Health Problems Elderly

0800 1111 for Childline for children (24-hour helpline)

0808 800 5000 for adults concerned about a child (24-hour helpline)

Women’s Aid:

Family Lives: 0808 800 2222 (daily, 7am-midnight) or


Many gamblers report that they get a sense of ‘community’ from the environment they gamble in – for example the betting shop, or people they talk to online. Problem gamblers can lose interest in maintaining personal relationships, career or hobbies as they are preoccupied with gambling, and they can suffer from social isolation. Regular life sometimes doesn’t hold the same appeal as the gambling ‘high’.

Arguments, strained relationships, failure to meet responsibilities, alienation, separation, divorce, physical or mental abuse can all impact someone with a gambling problem. The gambler may isolate themselves due to guilt or shame, or perhaps because they have borrowed or stolen to fund their gambling. It can begin to feel like there is no way back.

GamCare can help.

Talk to our Advisers for more information on our face to face, online and telephone support services, or join our Forum and chatroom to share your experiences and speak to others in similar situations.

Talk to us now

Popular culture often associates gambling with flashy casinos, bright lights, and glamour, but there is more to gambling than playing blackjack at a local casino. The popular media rarely shows the downside of problem gambling. Much like other addictions, excessive or problem gambling can lead to negative consequences such as relationship issues, debt, loss of employment, bankruptcy, foreclosures, and repossessions. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that in the United States, about 2 million (or 1 percent) of adults meet criteria for pathological gambling in a given year, and another 4–6 million (up to 3 percent) of adults would be considered problem gamblers.

Problem gambling comes at a cost, and VA is committed to helping Veterans recognize that they are not alone in confronting it. One way that VA is addressing gambling problems among Veterans is by asking the right questions in a health care setting.

What does problem gambling among Veterans look like?

Mental Health Problems Caused By Gambling

A pilot study conducted by the VISN 1 New England MIRECC and funded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission assessed the utility and feasibility of using the Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen (BBGS) for detecting gambling disorder among Veterans seeking mental health treatment services at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts. The study screened 260 Veterans from November 2017 through September 2018 in the hospital’s Primary Care Behavioral Health clinic, and 32.7 percent of respondents reported gambling within the past 12 months. Most of the Veterans who participated were seen for depression and anxiety-related problems. Researchers found no significant differences in the demographics, medical conditions, or mental health co-morbidities of the Veterans who gambled recreationally and those who had gambling disorder.

The most frequent forms of gambling were the traditional lottery (played by 25 percent of the Veterans), instant lottery scratch-off tickets (used by 31 percent), and card games (played by 10 percent). Of the 85 Veterans in the study who had gambled in the past year, five (5.9 percent) screened positive for gambling disorder on the BBGS and said they had problems with gambling. All five of these Veterans were white men with reported histories of anxiety, depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, three of these Veterans also met the American Psychiatric Association’s full DSM-5 criteria for gambling disorder, and strikingly, all three Veterans were also having suicidal thoughts at the time of the screening.

Veterans may also engage in gambling-related activities as an escape or a way to avoid seeking treatment for mental health challenges. This type of gambling-related escapism has been studied in the general population, such as in this study from Rory C. Reid, Ph.D., and colleagues; however, further research is needed to better understand the apparent association between gambling disorder and mental health challenges, including suicidal thoughts, and to develop improved strategies for encouraging Veterans to seek help.

What can Veterans expect from VA care providers?

Results from the Massachusetts study suggest that self-disclosure of problem gambling and outreach efforts by VA health care providers could increase Veterans’ participation in treatment services. By sharing information about gambling with their primary care provider, Veterans can start the journey toward a healthier lifestyle and limit the potential negative impacts.

How can Veterans take the first step toward recovery?

Gambling Mental Health Problems Children

The path to recovery for problem gambling starts with disclosing information about gambling to a health care provider. This open communication encourages early intervention and treatment and increases the likelihood of recovery and stability for Veterans and their loved ones. Veterans and their family members and friends can start by exploring the following resources:

  • The VA resource locator can identify recovery programs and other resources near you. Simply fill in your ZIP code or state and check the boxes to indicate the programs or topics you are interested in learning more about.
  • Coaching Into Care is a service to help you and your family members and other loved ones find the appropriate services at your local VA facilities and/or in your community. Call 888-823-7458 to get started.
  • The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) is an educational resource, which can help you understand gambling disorders and learn about effective methods of treatment.
  • The National Council on Problem Gambling operates the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700) where you can call and get support for a gambling problem. Help is available 24/7 and is 100 percent confidential.
  • Make the Connection is an online resource designed to connect you, your family members and friends, and other supporters with information and resources about issues affecting your life. Learn more about overcoming gambling problems and hear stories from other Veterans.

The VISN 1 New England Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) was established in 1997 and has two locations at VA Connecticut Healthcare System — West Haven Campus and Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts. The mission of the VISN 1 New England MIRECC is to improve mental health treatments and access to services for Veterans who have been diagnosed with both substance use and mental health issues. The center’s work focuses on Veterans with co-occurring addictions and mental illnesses as well as related issues, such as VA-compensated disabilities, homelessness, criminal justice histories, and medical co-morbidities. For more information on VISN 1, visit