What are the Psychological Effects of Gambling?

Jan 31, 2024

It’s no secret that sports betting is on the rise. It’s now legal in 37 states across the U.S., including Washington D.C., according to data from the American Gaming Association from 2023. Sports betting is just one of the many ways to gamble online. Gambling is easier than ever now and it’s accessible just about anywhere. You don’t have to walk into a casino to gamble. 

Accessibility to gambling continues to grow. Psychologists and mental health experts fear that it could lead to more gambling problems and gambling addictions. Gambling mostly targets young men and boys -- especially with sports betting and video game-based gambling.

However, gambling can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, sex, status, or income. Gen Z is more prone to gambling addiction, according to a 2018 Canadian survey from the government of British Columbia. When a person starts gambling at a young age, they have a higher chance of developing psychological problems. 

A major reason why most people gamble is the rush they get from winning. Those good feelings don’t last for long. If you find yourself losing money or feeling stressed about your financial future, you could have a problem. Help is available. The first step is to recognize the problem itself to get the help you need. 

Examining the risks of gambling

It’s important to be aware of the risks of gambling so you can recognize them in yourself or your friends and family. This prevents it from becoming a serious problem or addiction. Knowledge cultivates self-awareness so that you can replace gambling with a healthier outlet.

A combination of medication, support, and professional therapy can address these risk factors before they become a serious problem. According to Gamble Aware, studies show that certain types of gambling are more harmful and addictive than others. 

Online games that involve a sense of luck make it harder for people to track their money. As a result, they lose control of their life and financial situation. Other types of risky gambling include casino games, gaming machines, scratch tickets, and sports betting are also risky.  

The brain of a problem gambler

Gambling alters both the brain and your personality. To better understand the mind of a problem gambler, you should first understand how gambling affects certain regions of the brain. Two areas of the brain that are impacted by gambling are the prefrontal cortex and the ventral striatum, according to both human and animal studies

The prefrontal cortex is the region of the plan where you make plans, solve problems, and assess the potential consequences of a situation. It also develops your personality, including your beliefs and values. The ventral striatum is the area of the brain that reacts to receiving rewards and experiences positive feelings as a result. 

A problem gambler might struggle with their ability to make decisions. Instead, they seek out immediate gratification without realizing the consequences of their actions. The ventral part of the brain becomes less active as the gambler gets more addicted. Gambling addicts turn to other reward-based activities, such as casino games and sports betting

Common personality traits associated with problem gambling include chronic worrying, excessive shyness, low self-esteem, and persistent fears or doubts. You may notice they’re more negative than usual. Other factors that could change someone’s personality include impulsiveness and the inability to make goals or plans. The Mayo Clinic reports that those who become easily bored or are highly competitive are more likely to develop a gambling addiction. 

Complications

Problem gambling destroys every aspect of your life, such as your finances, work, relationships, and general health. You could face legal trouble or imprisonment if you resort to illegal gambling. Both problem and addictive gambling can wreak havoc on one’s emotional and mental health. 

Gambling causes mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Oftentimes, these personality disorders are a result of problem gambling. Problem gambling also causes you to stress and worry more about money and the future. 

Since it’s common for gamblers to hide their problem, they’re constantly worried about someone finding out. These mental health problems can also cause suicidal thoughts or tendencies. This stress on the body can deteriorate one’s health and lead to health problems, such as chronic fatigue, reduced physical activity, eating disorders, and poor sleep quality, as reported in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine

The Link Between Gambling and Depression

Gambling and depression are often interlinked. It’s like an unhealthy relationship in which one intensifies the other. Those with compulsive gambling habits struggle to make it through the day or complete their daily tasks. They also struggle to concentrate at work or school. 

If you struggle with depression, you might gamble to boost your mood, which ramps up the addiction. You’re desperate to experience those feel-good thoughts and emotions all the time. Certain personality disorders are at risk for gambling addiction, such as borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder. 

Depression can also cause someone to seek out risky activities that aren’t their usual hobbies and interests. The gambling and depression statistics show that those who struggle with depression are more likely to turn to gambling to escape from their thoughts and emotions, according to the Journal of Gambling Studies. 

On the flip side, gambling can also cause depression. Gambling addicts experience depressive episodes from financial problems, strained relationships, and losses that make them feel hopeless. They go on a downward spiral, which only causes them to gamble more. It causes a fallout in their interpersonal relationships and increases the severity of their depression symptoms.  

How Gambling Affects Mood

Compulsive gambling causes cause anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and stress. It just doesn’t affect your feelings and emotions. It can also destroy your mental health. When you become addicted to gambling, other activities and interests that you once enjoyed no longer make you feel good. 

So, you return to gambling to achieve that same dopamine hit every time. Those with mental health issues are at greater risk of severe gambling. You might notice better every time you gamble to forget about your depression or personal issues. 

Gambling and Anxiety

Most people who gamble often feel anxiety. They notice that they have more anxious thoughts. Or, they will project their anxiety onto the moment they gamble. Slowly, gambling trickles its way into each aspect of your life, and those addictive feelings are so overwhelming that you don’t know how to quit.  

Managing your anxiety can reduce this compulsive habit. Thankfully, there are several ways to manage anxiety, such as breath control, replacement activities, relaxation exercises, and the practice of patience. Most of these practices fit under the scope of mindfulness, which helps manage your cravings and triggers. Mindfulness gives you greater awareness and more control over your life. 

Gambling and Stress

Gambling causes more financial stress if you spend more money than you intended. It can quickly eat away at your finances if you don’t manage your money or set limits. Over time, you could end up in debt and fall behind on bills. 

This can put a strain on your relationships as it leads to a loss of trust. Despite the high that you get from gambling, it’s not an effective way to cope with stress. Chronic gambling will only cause this problem to get out of hand. 

Learn to Manage Your Gambling Habit

Compulsive gambling doesn’t happen overnight. It slowly becomes a problem even if it quickly impacts your finances. There are some things you can do to prevent it from becoming a serious problem, such as relieving the urge and using mindfulness practices. 

Education and prevention programs can also create greater awareness and ensure people they’re not alone in their struggles. Unfortunately, these resources aren’t made available everywhere. People need to be aware of the psychological effects of gambling before it’s too late. 

If you find that you have a gambling problem, contact Birches Health to get the help you need. From there, you’ll learn about your options for therapy and treatment.  

Resources:

Interactive U.S. Map: Sports Betting

Understanding the Odds: Gambling Among BC Youth Aged 12 - 18

Understanding The Risks Of Gambling

Gambling disorder: an integrative review of animal and human studies - PMC (nih.gov)

Compulsive Gambling 

Behavioral Addiction versus Substance Addiction: Correspondence of Psychiatric and Psychological Views

Depression Symptoms, Problem Gambling, and the Role of Escape and Excitement Gambling Outcome Expectancies

Compulsive Gambling and Anxiety

Sports Betting by the Numbers: Statistics and Total Revenue

Mar 2, 2024

Jonathan

Sex Addiction Counseling

Mar 1, 2024

Jonathan

Technology Withdrawal

Feb 29, 2024

Jonathan

Free Gambling Addiction Treatment

Feb 29, 2024

Jonathan

Famous sports betting game-fixing scandals

Feb 28, 2024

Jonathan

Sports betting demographics in the U.S.

Feb 28, 2024

Athletes and Sports Betting

Feb 27, 2024

Jonathan

SNL Sports Betting sketch spotlights real Gambling Addiction issues 

Feb 26, 2024

Jonathan

How to Prevent Internet Addiction & Cyberbullying

Feb 25, 2024

Jonathan

How to Stop Internet Addiction

Feb 24, 2024

Jonathan

Do Women Suffer From Porn Addiction?

Feb 23, 2024

Jonathan

New U.S. Gambling Stats: Record figures as Addiction also grows

Feb 22, 2024

Jonathan

How big is betting on College Basketball? Is it Legal?

Feb 21, 2024

Jonathan

Does gambling impact the integrity of sports?

Feb 20, 2024

Jonathan

ADHD and Video Game Addiction: It Starts with the Brain

Feb 20, 2024

Jonathan

What will be the social costs of increased gambling? Who will pay them?

Feb 19, 2024

Jonathan

Signs of an Internet Addiction

Feb 19, 2024

Jonathan

Is There Medication for Porn Addiction?

Feb 18, 2024

Jonathan

Internet Addiction Quiz

Feb 17, 2024

Jonathan

Is it Legal to Bet on the Daytona 500?

Feb 16, 2024

Jonathan

Signs of Video Game Addiction

Feb 15, 2024

Jonathan

Media Takes Note of America's Increase in Problem Gambling

Feb 15, 2024

Jonathan

What are the Psychological Effects of Gambling?

Jan 31, 2024

Jonathan

Will the NFL Fully Embrace Gambling?

Feb 1, 2024

Jonathan

How to bet on the NFL more responsibly

Feb 2, 2024

Jonathan

Is it legal to bet on the Super Bowl?

Feb 3, 2024

Jonathan

Stop Gambling: The Best App for Stopping Problem Gambling

Feb 4, 2024

Jonathan

A History of the Super Bowl and Betting

Feb 5, 2024

Jonathan

Guide to prop bets and how they can be risky for the Super Bowl

Feb 5, 2024

Jonathan

Risky gambling at the workplace: Super Bowl squares and betting pools

Feb 6, 2024

Jonathan

Can NFL players bet on the Super Bowl in Las Vegas?

Feb 7, 2024

Jonathan

NFL players punished for sports betting

Feb 8, 2024

Jonathan

Guide to betting responsibly on the Super Bowl

Feb 10, 2024

Jonathan

Taylor Swift Super Bowl Props: Legal to Bet?

Feb 9, 2024

Jonathan

Are there sportsbooks in any NFL stadiums?

Feb 9, 2024

Jonathan

Is Day Trading Gambling?

Feb 11, 2024

Jonathan

Internet Addiction: Facts and Treatment

Feb 10, 2024

Jonathan

What are the Different Types of Gamblers?

Feb 12, 2024

Jonathan

College sports betting scandals and controversies

Feb 13, 2024

Jonathan

How can states & sports leagues profit from increased gambling?

Feb 13, 2024

Jonathan

Technology Addiction Statistics

Feb 14, 2024

Jonathan

Withdrawal Symptoms For Sex Addiction

Jan 24, 2024

Jonathan

Understanding Behavior Disorders

Jan 23, 2024

Jonathan

What Causes Sex Addiction?

Jan 22, 2024

Jonathan

Phone Addiction: Warning Signs And Treatment

Jan 18, 2024

Jonathan

Porn Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

Jan 17, 2024

Jonathan

The Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment, And Treatment (GRIT) Act

Jan 14, 2024

Jonathan

What is the Cycle of Addiction and How to Break It

Jan 9, 2024

Jonathan

I Lost All My Money Gambling. What Now?

Dec 29, 2023

Jonathan

Your 2024 New Year's Resolution: Stop Sports Betting and Online Gambling

Dec 24, 2023

Elliott

Why Do Addicts Relapse?

Dec 20, 2023

Jonathan

Sex Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders

Dec 18, 2023

Jonathan

Is Video Game Addiction Real?

Dec 18, 2023

Jonathan

Is Gambling a Sin?

Dec 18, 2023

Jonathan

Staging a Gambling Intervention for a Loved One

Dec 13, 2023

Jonthan

Signs of Gambling Addiction in a Spouse

Nov 30, 2023

Jonathan

​​Signs of Sex Addiction

Nov 27, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling and Divorce: Statistics and Information

Nov 26, 2023

Jonathan

What is DFS Gambling?

Nov 19, 2023

Jonathan

Addiction Specialist: Helping You Overcome Addiction

Nov 18, 2023

Jonathan

Exploring the Different Types of Gambling

Nov 8, 2023

Jonathan

Technology Addiction: Signs and Treatment

Oct 30, 2023

Jonathan

Is Sex Addiction Real? 

Oct 25, 2023

Jonathan

Is Options Trading Gambling?

Oct 23, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction and Treatment

Oct 16, 2023

Jonathan

Sex Addiction Treatment and Therapy Options

Oct 14, 2023

Jonathan

Signs of Gambling Addiction

Oct 7, 2023

Jonathan

Is the Stock Market Gambling?

Sep 25, 2023

Jonathan

Tips for Finding a Gambling Rehab Center

Sep 24, 2023

Jonathan

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Pathological Gambling

Sep 23, 2023

Jonathan

What Causes Porn Addiction?

Sep 18, 2023

Jonathan

Video Game Addiction

Sep 16, 2023

Jonathan

Porn Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Sep 11, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms & Signs

Aug 29, 2023

Jonathan

How to Stop Online Gambling

Aug 27, 2023

Jonathan

Does Medicare Cover Gambling Rehab?

Aug 19, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling and Dopamine

Aug 12, 2023

Jonathan

How to Stop a Porn Addiction: Tips & Treatment

Aug 11, 2023

Jonathan

Porn Addiction Counseling

Aug 7, 2023

Jonathan

Is Fantasy Football Gambling?

Jul 24, 2023

Jonathan

Signs of a Day Trading Problem

Jul 19, 2023

Jonathan

Why is Gambling Addictive?

Jul 18, 2023

Jonathan

The Arizona Lottery and Gambling

Jul 16, 2023

Jonathan

Is Poker Gambling?

Jul 15, 2023

Jonathan

Is Crypto Gambling?

Jul 14, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling and Sports Betting Among College Students

Jul 8, 2023

Jonathan

Updates made to gambling disorder across the DSM-III, DSM-IV, DSM-5

Updates Made to Gambling Disorder Clinical Criteria Between DSM-III, DSM-IV, and DSM-5

Jul 8, 2023

Cara Anderson

Combatting Gambling and Alcohol Addiction

Jun 30, 2023

Jonathan

Medication for Gambling Addiction

Jun 27, 2023

Jonathan

The Seven Types of Gamblers: Are You One of Them?

Jun 25, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

10 Questions to Ask If You Think Your Loved One Has a Gambling Problem

Jun 24, 2023

Cara Anderson

Signs of a Sports Betting Problem

Jun 21, 2023

Jonathan

Las Vegas - often called the gambling capital of the world

Exploring the History of Gambling in the US

Jun 17, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Gambling Treatment in Arizona

Jun 15, 2023

Jonathan

Voluntary Self Exclusion to Stop Online Gambling

Jun 15, 2023

Cara Anderson

Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Gambling Treatment?

Jun 13, 2023

Jonathan

The Growing Issue of Loot Box Addiction: What Parents Need to Know

Jun 11, 2023

Cara Anderson

Gambling Addiction Hotline

Jun 5, 2023

Jonathan

How to Stop Gambling

Jun 1, 2023

Jonathan

Can Gambling Addiction Be Cured?

May 31, 2023

Jonathan

problem gambler worried about addiction

Why Is Gambling So Addictive?

May 30, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Medication that can cause gambling

Abilify and Compulsive Gambling

May 26, 2023

Cara Anderson

A man who has regained control of his life by stopping gambling and online sports betting

How to Stop Gambling: Strategies for Regaining Control

May 21, 2023

Cara Anderson

This man stopped gambling by recognizing his online sports betting problem

How to Stop Gambling and Save Money

May 18, 2023

Cara Anderson

People celebrating being free of a gambling addiction

How to Help Someone with a Gambling Addiction

May 16, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

What is a Microbet and how does it contribute to online sports betting addiction

Microbets and Online Gambling Addiction

May 13, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

The Growing Phenomenon of Cryptocurrency Addiction: What Traders Need to Know About Crypto Addiction

Cryptocurrency Addiction

May 9, 2023

Tobias Jackson

Esports player competing in an esports match and having fans gamble on their play

The Rise of Esports Gambling

May 6, 2023

Cara Anderson

The stock market graph of a day trader who has a day trading addiction

How Day Trading Can Create a Dangerous Addiction

May 4, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Younger individuals gathered around a computer talking about a gambling addiction meme

How Addictive Memes Have Fueled Problem Gamblers

May 2, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Man in the middle of taking a Do I have a Gambling Problem Quiz

Clinical Screening Tools and Quizzes to Answer the Question: "Do I have a Gambling Problem?"

May 1, 2023

Tobias Jackson

This man has a Sports Betting Problem and is sitting in front of a tv watching his online sports bets lose.

Sports Betting Problems and What to Be Aware Of

Apr 30, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Insurance paperwork that Birches clients do not need to go through as Birches Health handles all administrative and payment matters for them!

Insurance Coverage for Gambling Addiction in 2023

Apr 29, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Man reading outside as he has stopped online sports betting

How to Stop Sports Betting

Apr 28, 2023

Cara Anderson

Couple hugging as the man has a gambling addiction and the woman, his loved one, is able to support him through it.

Helping a Loved One with a Gambling Addiction

Apr 27, 2023

Cara Anderson

Man actualizing self care and manifesting his recovery journey from problem gambling and gambling addiction

Self Care for Problem Gamblers

Apr 26, 2023

Cara Anderson

NCAA student athletes in college at university gathering to celebrate a great practice

Can NCAA Athletes Bet on Sports?

Apr 25, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Bad effects of glamorization of gambling in the media in films, tv shows, and podcasts

Glamorized Gambling and What To Be Aware Of

Apr 24, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

College students (youths and young adults) all gathered around a tv watching the athletic contest during March Madness

What is March Madness and Should You Be Worried?

Apr 22, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Basketball arena where spectators are gathering to watch a National Basketball Assocation (NBA) game and may be betting on sports and wagering on events and the outcome of the game

What is Sports Betting and Event Wagering?

Apr 21, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Therapist offering a problem gambler gambling addiction counseling and treatment

What is Problem Gambling?

Apr 20, 2023

Elliott Rapaport