Whether or not you personally struggle with a problem with gambling, mental health affects us all. During Mental Health Awareness Month this May, Before You Bet wants to shed light on this important topic and encourage people to seek treatment if they find themselves struggling with mental health.
Some might not know that gambling addiction, also known as Gambling Disorder, is a diagnosable and treatable mental health disorder. While problem gambling has its own set of criteria for diagnosis and treatment, many still don’t seek help for this potentially life-threatening condition – and thoughts of suicide affect 1 of 4 people with a gambling problem.
A problem with gambling can coexist with other mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. According to an Ohio gambling survey, people who struggle with a problem with gambling are three times more likely to experience an alcohol or drug dependency and twice as likely to experience mood disorders, such as depression.
No matter how overwhelming it might feel to take care of your mental health, prevention and treatment are effective, and people can recover and go on to live satisfying and healthy lives. In fact, studies show that many people with mental health problems recover entirely.
Three ways to prioritize your mental health:
- Practice self-care and make yourself a priority. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly.
- Take a break from technology and electronic devices to unplug and relax.
- Engage in mindfulness activities like meditation, yoga, or journaling.
Mental health treatment and recovery is a continuing process, and the first step is getting help if you need it. The good news is that there are more treatment services and support systems in place than ever before, and they are successful.
Here are some local resources:
- Before You Bet’s website provides problem gambling resources, including a responsible gambling quiz to gauge your risk for problem gambling, a list of problem gambling warning signs, and a 24/7 online chat for people who need access to treatment. Confidential support is also available 24/7 by calling the helpline at 1-800-589-9966.
- Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services provides Ohioans with free, local treatment for various addictions and conditions
Additionally, if you are a prevention specialist looking for social media content and additional awareness resources on problem gambling, please visit BeforeYouBet.org/community-toolkit/