Betting On The Other Side Of You: Bipolar Disorder And Gambling Addiction

Bipolar disorder also known as manic depression is a severe mental health issue demonstrated by mood swings and abrupt change in behavior. At times, people with this condition experience extreme sorrow or depression and at times happiness and power.

“Bipolar Disorder is a mental health issue where neurological differences can be observed between those who have and do not have this diagnosis.” Catherine “Katie” Ness, MA, LCPC said. Bipolar disorder can be hereditary. If one of the parents has a mood disorder, there is a high risk that the child will have the condition too. About 50% of people diagnosed with this condition have a family member with the same mental health issue or mood disorder such as depression.

However, bipolar disorder is mainly biological. There is an area in the brain which functions differently due to malfunction in neurotransmitters such as the norepinephrine or the stress hormone. It makes us think faster; increases our heart rate which pumps more blood; increases glucose release; increases breathing rate providing more oxygen to the brain; and finally, restricts metabolic processes which then passes the energyto the brain and other muscles, making them function faster thus explaining the mania.

On the other hand, he could also experience the opposite and drown in severe depression. It could cause him to shut the world out and express resentment. He would have terrible mood swings, and it is likely that he will fall into addiction as well. It could be substance abuse, alcohol, or maybe even gambling. 

What Is It Like To Have A Bipolar Disorder And A Gambling Addiction?

“Compulsive gambling is a serious addiction that can cause severe consequences,”  says Natalia S. David, PsyD. When you are winning in a gamble, there is a feeling of power and superiority which is what’s addictive in the first place. It satisfies the mania – the aspect of bipolar disorder which describes the heightened energy level.


When a person with bipolar disorder switches moods and becomes sad, he could lose the interest in gambling, but then there will also be a tendency that he will still turn to it to appease the overwhelming sadness.

Do People With Bipolar Disorder Favor A Personality Over Another?

No. People with bipolar disorder couldn’t choose what to feel. Their brains function unusually in a random place or time. There could still be triggers such as stress, environment, and social pressure, but most of the time, they are unable to control their emotions.

What Is The Connection Between Bipolar Disorder And Addiction?

Since bipolar disorder is a problem with mood and behavior, it could also influence the brain to be vulnerable with overwhelming emotions. We could easily be tempted and persuaded as we tend to act based on what our brain demands which most of the time is to contain and respond to our feelings, which then, again, can be due to brain malfunction. Yes, John Preston, PsyD.  seems right when he said, “Bipolar disorder is probably the main psychiatric disorder where medication is absolutely essential.”


We couldn’t exactly tell how a person with bipolar disorder feels. He might prefer a feeling over another, but sadly, he doesn’t have the power to choose. He could always bet on being happy and active, but having a bipolar disorder means you have to deal with the other facet of it, too.