World Health Day, celebrated annually on April 7th, is seen by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a global health matter. The theme for 2017’s World Health Day is “Depression: Let’s Talk.” While people may not initially associate gambling with depression, many compulsive gamblers also suffer from mental health issues.
As described by WHO, “Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living.” If you have a gambling problem, you may be surprised to learn that there’s a strong possibility that you also suffer from depression; it’s estimated that 76% of problem gamblers are likely to have a major depressive disorder. Your depression may have caused you to turn to gambling in the first place, to help alleviate feelings of loneliness, boredom or to give you a boost when you were feeling down.
It’s important to consider both your depression and gambling addiction when seeking treatment because each disorder can intensify the symptoms of the other. If you’re feeling depressed, you’ll be looking for ways to boost your mood and the thought of winning at gambling may seem like a good solution. But once you start losing, you’ll feel even more depressed and the cycle will continue. When you consider the extreme excitement you feel when you win, and the crushing disappointment when you lose, it’s easy to see why depression and gambling are a dangerous combination.
At Algamus we can relate to what you’re going through as many of our staff are in recovery from gambling addictions themselves. We are one of the only addiction treatment facilities in the US that treats gambling, and only gambling. We understand that an important part of your treatment will be identifying why you started to gamble so that you can learn to fill that void in another way. For example, if you started gambling because you were bored, your recovery plan will include ways to combat that boredom. Volunteering, going to the gym, or visiting friends are all ways that will not only boost your mood but get you out of the house.
Many people may suffer from both depression and problem gambling, but you don’t have to be one of them. As we celebrate World Health Day, take the opportunity to talk it. Contact us today to see how we can help you deal with both your depression and gambling.