Mood, Mind, and Gambling
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health is something we all should care about as it is important to our everyday lives. We may not realize it, but our daily surroundings can have an impact on our mental health. In particular, gambling can have an impact on our mood and our mental health.
How Gambling Affects our Mood
If you are struggling with your gambling, you may notice that gambling affects your mood. Gambling affects our brain which in turn, can cause changes in the brain. These changes can affect your mental health and the ability to get pleasure from everyday life. People struggling with problem gambling are prone to higher rates of depression and thoughts of suicide due to medical, financial, and psychological reasons.
Why does the Brain React to Gambling
When you gamble, the brain gets a flood of dopamine from the excitement you feel. The more you gamble, the more your brain floods with dopamine. This boosts your mood and makes you feel like you are on top of the world.
As gambling progresses, the brain will tell itself to stop producing dopamine for regular experiences, including gambling. When less dopamine is produced in the brain, your baseline of your natural mood changes.
What does this mean for my mental health
When you’re producing less dopamine, it becomes difficult to get pleasure from natural rewards such as your relationships, your job or your achievements. When you are struggling with your gambling, your brain is focused on gambling cues and doesn’t respond well to these natural rewards. This can contribute to feelings of depression and shame which can affect your mental health.
The good news is that your brain is always changing and can recover both structurally and chemically. Studies show that after only four months of abstinence, individuals with addiction can again respond to non-gambling or neutral cues and show a reduced urge to engage in gambling or other problem behaviors.
If you are ready to improve your mental health and get resources for your gambling, we are here to help. Call 1-833- HERETOHELP (1-833-437-3864) or visit NYProblemGamblingHELP.org to learn more.
To learn more about how the brain is impacted by gambling visit www.mindrideny.com