Depression Rates High Among Problem Gamblers [Research]

Depression and problem gambling too often go hand-in-hand; it’s a link addiction health care providers and researchers have recognized for years. Now, recently released findings add further support to the connection between mental well-being and gambling addiction, a condition that impacts up to 3% of Americans.

The University of Quebec’s long-term study, which started following more than 1,100 economically-disadvantaged kindergarten boys in 1984, discovered that 3% have now developed problem gambling, a number at the high end of the 1-3% prevalence rate found in other studies.

Of those who developed gambling problems, nearly 75% showed signs of depression. What’s more, researchers found the depressive behaviors appeared to develop alongside problem gambling, with both behaviors generally becoming more severe over time.

Learn more about the connection between these conditions in Does Depression Cause Gambling Addiction?

Compulsive Gambling, Depression, & Suicide

Problem gambling is linked to high rates of suicide attempts and suicide. Studies estimate, for example, that up to 24% of compulsive gamblers have made a suicide attempt. For U.S. veterans struggling with pathological gambling, the rate of those who’ve attempted gambling-related suicide skyrockets to 64%.

Likewise, severe depression and suicide are deeply connected. Over 90% of people who commit suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental health condition.

A problem gambler with depression symptoms needs professional care from a provider trained to treat unhealthy gambling behavior. Visit Treatment Providers for a list of resources in Lancaster and Lebanon.

Suicide Prevention Help

Reach out immediately if you’re thinking about taking your life. Call the confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call Lancaster Crisis Intervention at 717-394-2631.

If someone you know is considering suicide, call 911 or local emergency services. Learn more about preventing suicide by contacting Mental Health America of Lancaster County at 717-397-7461.

Gambling Addiction Help

Take the quiz on the SafeStakes home page to find out if you or a loved one is at risk for problem gambling. For confidential, free guidance to addiction help resources in Lancaster, PA or Lebanon, PA, call the Compass Mark referral team at 717-299-2831 or fill out our Problem Gambling Help Form.


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