ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Health»
  • Mental Health»
  • Addiction

Why Gambling Addiction's Effect on Depression Is Deadly

Updated on August 4, 2016
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a former gambling addict who hopes to give advice to those who may be suffering from gambling addiction and other disorders.

Source

Gambling Addiction vs. Depression

How deadly are gambling addiction's effects on depression?

The answers aren't as clear as you think.

We know that any form of addiction can lead to depression and subsequently depression can lead to addiction, but what happens when they mix.

Is gambling disorder and addiction worse than we thought?

Does Gambling Addiction Cause Depression?

Source

Does Addiction Guarantee Depression?

Anyone who comes across this question may think they already know the answer, but from a first-hand experience, I can tell you it's not always clear.

As a survivor of gambling addiction, I had no physical or mental signs of actual depression despite financial losses piling up. In fact I was happy most of the time alone and in public places.

Some of the reasons for that are:

  • Gambling addicts often don't realize they have a problem
  • The addiction isn't severe
  • The joy of gambling supersedes feelings of depression

In my situation the addiction wasn't at an extreme level otherwise the chances of other mental illnesses would have rapidly gone up.

I broke down the phases of the illness in previous articles and explained when it stopped being a game.

See Gambling Disorder: The Beginning Stages

But how significant does length of addictive behavior play a role in developing other mental illnesses like depression?

That too took me by surprise.

Can Length of Addiction Increase Mental Illness?

Source

How Long Have You Been an Addict?

How much significance does time actually have when you're a gambling addict?

Again it sounds like the answer is obvious, but a prolonged length of time with a disorder doesn't mean you'll develop other psychological problems.

This is due to several factors including:

  • Socialization
  • Restrained Addictive Behaviors
  • Sense of Self
  • Intelligence

The more you surround yourself with friends, family, and healthy relationships, the less likely you'll develop psychological disorders despite being an addict.

Likewise socialization acts to restrain the intensity of your addictive behaviors causing them to halt progression beyond moderate levels for a while.

Because your gambling struggles don't worsen, you feel like you're in control which intensifies your sense of self. In your mind the disease isn't king or queen, you are.

Finally how intelligent and logical you are greatly helps addicts because having smarts makes you aware of your actions. When you have good awareness, it prevents you from entering obvious pitfalls.

So if those four factors negate gambling addiction's progression, then how long does it take to finally worsen?

When Does Gambling Addiction Win?

Will You Succumb to Severe Addiction?

If everything is balancing positively for you, then what will be the trigger that ultimately worsens your addiction.

Before I can answer that question, I have to remind you that there are multiple pathways that'll develop over time. Some are good while others can be terrifying.

Below are three common pathways long-term addicts eventually follow:

  • They recover due to numerous positive factors that attack the root of the problem
  • Their addiction remains static with ups and downs for years or decades to come
  • They get worse, and things escalate quickly potentially resulting in deadly consequences

So the first makes sense if you know the positive things that prevent gambling addicts from getting worse. The support system is there, they're intelligent and in-control, and eventually the good wins out.

On the second pathway, they're able to maintain their status quo without going one way or the other due to established long-term behavioral traits.

Think about this, do you think most smokers who've smoked the same amount of cigarettes for 30+ years will suddenly change? Probably not.

Lastly the final pathway is where the addiction spirals out of control.

It's where even the most positive aspects start to break down. The gambling slowly worsens, which causes a domino effect of socialization issues, loss of control, and a collapse in logic.

Once the transition phase happens, it won't take long for things to go from bad to deadly. This is where a slew of other mental illnesses quickly develop, and the depression turns ugly.

But how ugly does it get and is it worse than non-addictive depression?

The Worst Form of Depression

Source

Gambling Turns Deadly

It's one thing to develop depression due to genetic factors, bereavement, and other social issues, but it's another to have it swiftly arrive because of gambling addiction.

If you've ever read the DSM for major depressive disorders, then you'd note that depression doesn't get diagnosed until weeks of symptoms occur.

So then what happens when it arrives instantly?

Rapid depression is terrible for several reasons including:

  • No time to recover
  • Lack of diagnosis
  • Instantly increases suicidal tendencies

Depression for gambling addicts sometimes doesn't arrive until the very late stages, and it feels instantaneous. One massive financial loss is all it takes for an addict to go to the extreme where there's no time to gather themselves.

The feelings of loss and anger over a huge debt can arrive within hours to days at most, so there's no time to diagnose and cure those feelings.

There have been instances where a couple hours of gambling have caused people to commit suicide because of severe debt that was too much to handle.

Depression is already a scary thing, but you need time to process it. Unfortunately a severe gambling addict may not have that time, and it can be fatal.

Can Severe Gambling Addict's Be Helped?

Source

Is There a Cure for Severe Gambling Addiction?

Can addicts be cured no matter how severe the illness?

While psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and people will tell you that of course they can, I personally believe they're not being completely honest.

I've seen what severe addiction does to people, and those individuals are so lost that no amount of therapy or medicine will help.

Obviously doctors and therapists will never tell you that, but that's how bad things can get.

On the other hand you can be in pretty bad shape and get better, but it's harder when everything happens instantaneously with violent addiction.

Like their sudden onset of depression, there's either little time to cure them or it's already too late. You can entrap and have them institutionalized but chances are it won't do anything.

There's only so much people can take before it's too much.

I'm happy to say I took the first path with my gambling problem, but many of my peers weren't so lucky. That's why you have to get help even if your behaviors remain steady.

Remember that for addicts, there are merely three pathways you're guaranteed to follow.

Don't take the chance of going down that third path.

Your Turn

How fatal is gambling addiction?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 13 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you for sharing. It may have been something you took up in passing as for most people, gambling is something they do a few times, put an end to it, or restrict it severely. Thankfully your losses were kept in check because even a small amount of gambling can be devastating. I'm not against occasional gambling and betting as long as people know their limits. There is something thrilling about a bet that makes events like horse racing or sporting events a bit juicier but that's human nature. It's all about how we control our situation and you seemed to handle it very well.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 13 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you for your response. Personally I wouldn't be upset if gambling was over outlawed permanently because there's little benefit to it for the consumer. If that's not possible, then I'm all for stricter gambling restrictions because I know what it can do to someone with the best intentions.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 13 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      First off I am so sorry to hear that because I know how terrible it must feel not knowing what to do or how to help someone. I'm not a professional but that professional help is the eventual goal however that's not easy when a victim is in denial. Speaking for experience, communication in a calm, non-foreceful manner is important. The more you try to force it down someone's throat, the worse they'll react. The way to help someone has to come from care and love for the person, not through aggression. The victim has to trust you before you can move on to the next step, so that's the most important advice I could give.

      If you can make him see how it's affecting others around him, then that can work too once you establish strong understanding. Finally if we're talking about an adult, then they have to be willing to help themselves because no amount of force or pressure will ever help them. If she can develop a healthy communicative relationship with him first, then let subtlety let him know how it's affecting other people. Then if that works and hopefully he admits to a problem, then get the professional treatments he needs.

      I hope any of this helps, again I'm very sorry to hear about the situation and I want everything to get better. Thank you.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 13 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I have a friend that has a grown son who is suffering from an addiction other than gambling. I am trying to help her deal with the situation. The son does not think there is a problem, and will not get help. He lives with his mother (my friend) and she doesn't know how to help him. What would you recommend that I do to help her?

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 13 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      An interesting hub about gambling and addiction to gambling. Nowadays there is gambling all over in every field. People are getting addicted to it. I hate this tendency and hope gamblers should renounce this social evil.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 13 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This is an excellent hub, Chris, and wonderful advice fr anyone effected by gambing addiction. I used to be addicted to gambling on horse racing...though I never suffered any major losses (probably broke even over 20 years). I did spend all my spare time studying form guides, trackwork times etc and it took up time I could have spent on more constructive pursuits. The fact that I have never been interested in any other form of gambling makes me wonder if it was actually an addiction or just an avid interest though, and now I can have the occasional bet (like once or twice a year) and it doesn't get me hooked to do it more often.