Gambling has various effects, one of which is on the mental health of the gambler. While it is necessary to know these effects, it is also of utmost importance to know about mental health.
According to Erica Thompson, LMFT, LPCC “Mental health struggles are real. They can be painful. You may feel alone. In some of the darkest times, you may feel like something is “wrong” with you to the core.”Mental health is a level of psychological and emotional well-being; it is the state of mind we are in, the way we think, act and even how we feel. It is a very important thing to take note of, and we must be conscious of it at every stage of our life; right from when we are young even up till old age. Having someone to talk to is also very important as it helps to study the state of our mind and it improves our mental health.
While gambling can be addictive and also influencing our mental health; it can be rewarding and risky. It has always been a ticket to end boredom for some people and it makes them feel they are very strong but it can cause anxiety and depression when it becomes addictive. As we take a look at the mental health effects of gambling, we’ll consider its positive side and the risk attached to it too.
The positive effect of gambling on mental health
While it is very risky to one’s mental health, gambling sure does open up a challenge to a gambler’s mental health.
Extensive studies have shown that while people retire and do little or no work like fishing or just resting, those that engage in activities requiring heavy thoughts tend to make effective use of their brain. Those that retire and just stay at home will later have some parts of their brain idle while those that gamble will still make effective use of those parts that might have become idle. Though it is not only gambling that requires heavy thoughts it is worthy of note that gambling does require consistent heavy thought.
As the brain is the center of most of the impulses and reactions, it is also the source of the strength attached to mental health. As long as the brain is in good condition, then mental health is also in the right condition. So, gambling is not all that bad and it does have its positive influence.
It is, therefore, necessary to note, that it is this consistent gambling that might turn out to be an addiction and will lead to the negative side effects. When there’s a feeling of comfort; the addictive pain then comes up and then there’s no letting go. So, what happens to mental health when gambling becomes an addiction?
Negative effects of gambling on mental health
The major effect that rocks the boat of gambling is the effect it has on the mental health of the gambler. While it starts gradually and looks like it’s really nothing, it becomes a thorn in the flesh and harms the gambler constantly. Let’s take a look at some of the consistent negative effects. “If your gambling addiction has led to severe social, medical, legal and/or financial difficulties, you may need to find an inpatient program to give a jumpstart to your treatment,” says Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist and marriage and family counselor.
- Depression and anxiety: They are often experienced together because when there’s an expectation as the dice are rolling, it leads t anxiety and then there’s a force of depression that settles in gradually especially when the gambler doesn’t win. Over time, the gambler gets used to it while also beating the mental health of the gambler down.
- Bipolar disorder: It is also called “manic depression”. It is a mental health disorder that results in periods of elevated mood (hypomania) and periods of depression. It is characterized by these two separate moods; the person feels energetic and is able to tackle or face any situation though he/she might give a poor judgment, then it comes with a feeling of depression and the person feels cut out from the world and behaves seemingly opposite to the way he/she once felt.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Another negative mental health issue is this disorder that results in not being able to be attentive, being excessively active and having difficulty controlling one’s behavior. It is a rampant disorder that can occur during childhood and can be prevalent in a lifetime but it can also be treated. It also duly affects gamblers after continuous moments with gambling.
It is always nice to look at the bright side of things but it’s even better to consider the flaws and side effects. Though, gambling might have its good side; it is a really terrible activity to get used to. There’s a need to gamble with caution if you are ever going to gamble and there’s a need to watch the signs of addiction or mental health issues as it starts so little and becomes an unquenchable fire. Lillian Harris LCPC-C used to say, “So much of mental health work is about giving people a space to be witnessed and held while sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of human life.” And she is right.