Gambling and Mood Disorders


Gambling is an activity in which people risk something of value, like money or possessions, for a chance to win a prize. It can be done at casinos, racetracks, sports events and online.

People can have gambling problems even if they have no other mental health issues. However, mood disorders such as depression and anxiety can trigger or make worse gambling problems.

If you are struggling with a mood disorder, it is important to seek help. If you have debts, you can speak to StepChange for free, confidential advice.

Many people find it hard to recognise when their gambling is causing them harm, and they may try to hide their behaviour or lie about how much time and money they spend on the activity. It is important to realise that a gambling problem can affect every area of your life, from relationships to work to finances.

Identify your triggers and avoid them. For example, if passing a casino or TAB makes you want to gamble, consider taking an alternative route home. Similarly, if watching sports makes you want to bet, watch something else. Also, only gamble with money you can afford to lose and do not chase your losses, as this will lead to bigger and bigger losses.

If you are worried about your gambling, talk to someone who won’t judge you. This could be a family member, friend or a professional counsellor. If you are able to get financial and emotional help, you can reduce your risks and develop new ways of spending your time and money.