What is the relationship between gambling and depression?
Depression and gambling frequently co-occur. Persons with depression may be drawn to gambling as an escape-type behavior that temporarily alleviates some of the symptoms of depression by providing excitement and thrill. Individuals with problem gambling habits frequently develop depression as a result of the severe stressors that problem gambling can produce, such as relational strain, family strain, financial problems, lying, and secrecy.
What challenges does this pose for treatment?
Like any other addiction, the “self-medicating” quality of gambling poses a difficulty for treatment, as individuals with problem gambling behaviors have often developed those behaviors because they lack other coping skills to deal with difficult feelings. This behavior may continue to be an appealing “out” from the very problems it is causing.
What sort of help can depressed problem gamblers get? How can loved ones help them?
There is professional and compassionate help for individuals with problem gambling behaviors, as well as for their loved ones. If you know someone with a gambling problem, you can support them in getting into recovery by compassionately acknowledging their struggle and encouraging them to access professional help through expert recovery programs.
If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling problems and depression, we can help. Find out more about Castle Craig’s treatment for dual diagnosis of gambling addiction and depression here.