People who engage in chronic gambling or suffer from gambling addiction will often experience high levels of depression. Gambling can affect numerous areas of a person’s life that can lead to depression in various ways. Some of the different ways that gambling may affect a person’s life include the following:
- Significant financial loss
- Broken relationships with spouses, other family members, and friends
- Loss of reserved money for children’s college tuition or other known future expenses
- Debts to various lenders
- Inability to pay off previous debts or bills
- Loss of assets, such as a home or a vehicle, due to not making loan payments
- Legal fines or imprisonment as a result of petty cash theft in order to gamble more
- Development of gambling addiction or inability to control impulses
All of these negative effects of gambling can cause an individual to fall into severe depression. Once depression occurs, an individual may use anti-depressants in order to self-medicate and relieve the depressive symptoms.
When gambling causes depression and leads to self-medicating with anti-depressants, it often becomes a cycle of compulsive behavior. The individual has a constant and intense desire to gamble, and he or she feels unable to ignore or overcome the desire. The individual may even know that gambling will just make things worse, but he or she is seemingly unable to control the desire. The individual engages in the act of gambling to relieve the stress of not doing it, all the while knowing that it will probably lead to depression.
Once depression occurs again, the individual utilizes more anti-depressants until it becomes another compulsive act. In many cases of gambling addiction and anti-depressant abuse, individuals become psychologically addicted to anti-depressants. They may not have any symptoms of physical addiction to the anti-depressants or experience any withdrawal symptoms.
However, they can become set on the idea that they have to have anti-depressants in order to function. If they discontinue use, they will experience multiple withdrawal symptoms. Some of the many characteristics of psychological addiction can include the following:
- Obsessive cravings for the substance
- No limits of what will be done in order to obtain the substance
- Obsession with obtaining and consuming the substance
- Restlessness, anxiety, and irritability while not engaged in the act of abusing the substance
- Constant preoccupation with thinking about the substance
- Lack of satisfaction with the amount taken or the duration of use
- Severe mood swings
Significant loss due to gambling can pose great risk for suicidal tendencies to arise, especially among those abusing anti-depressants. Seeking out immediate treatment from a licensed and professional addiction rehab or dual diagnosis treatment center is the most beneficial way to overcome drug addiction and problems with gambling.