Gambling and Depression

alcoholism abuse treatmentDepression, that darkest of emotional beasts.  Its hallmark signs include sadness, lonely feelings, darkness and “the blues”.  While these are normal emotional arenas for a healthy person to undergo, when sadness is controlling one’s life, when getting out of bed does not seem to have the same purpose, and when work and relationships suffer, it is time to seek professional help for a common problem.  The most common symptoms are depressed mood, sadness, guilt, shame, sleep disturbance and irritability.  A person who is depressed may see escape through various means, including gambling.  In fact, gambling may become a detriment to his or her lifestyle as a result of the financial strain, relationship problems and amount of time consumed gambling

Depression itself affects over eleven million men and women in theUnited Statesevery year.  That is a staggering number when one considers that is around seven percent of the entire population, and those are the cases the scientific studies are sure about.  The rest are going to suffer until they find an outlet, often an unhealthy one, as in the case of gambling addiction.  Nearly five percent of adults are thought to be addictive gamblers, with women making up around 25 percent of the total.

Warning signs of problem gambling are similar to other addictions.  When any one behavior begins to negatively affect other parts of life, it is time to take a serious look at the behavior.  While problem gambling is not full-blown gambling addiction, it has some of the same hall-mark signs, and can be a factor in self-destructive patterns.  Even though most people are not going to ever have a problem with gambling, there are a number of people out there who suffer from the risks they have taken due to gambling.  If a co-worker talks of gambling, asks to borrow money, is often tired at work due to being at the casino the night before, takes long lunches to gamble, these signs may point to a person having some trouble with gambling.  There are two very simple questions one might ask of a friend, family member, or co-worker to help determine if gambling is a problem.  Question one: have they ever lied about how much they gamble?  This is tricky, as someone in the throes of a problem might be too trapped to know how to admit defeat and already be in a state of denial.  Question two: have they ever felt the need to bet more and more money?  This kind of pattern tends to easily spiral out of control and may result in or contribute to depression.  Help is available in the same way that addicts can receive help with the habits that control them, but in the case of gambling there are often two problems: depression and gambling.

Getting help is as easy as making a phone call.  Honesty is the best policy, and by getting one’s issues into the hands of a competent professional, the chances are good that recovery is possible.  What is lacking is education about gambling addiction and depression.  Fortunately, there is now an Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of depression and gambling.   Our programs provide services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or problem gambling, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery.  Substance abuse treatment, treatment for depression and gambling can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.


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