Problem Gambling is when a person's gambling causes harm to themselves and/or to those around them such as a partner, family, friends, or others in the community. When gambling begins to consume more money and time than a person can afford it can affect many parts of their lives, including physical and emotional health, finances, relationships, work and study.
Problem gambling affects a small percentage of the population, but it can have devastating effects on the individuals concerned, their families and the wider community. It's estimated that for every one person with a gambling problem there are between 5 and 10 others who are negatively affected. For more information visit www.problemgambling.gov.au.
There is a spectrum of gambling behaviour populated at one end by people with no problems (recreational gamblers) through to people with moderate (regular gamblers) and, at the other end, severe problems (frequent/problem gamblers).
People may not see a connection between their gambling and their health concerns however, problem gambling is associated with a range of mental health problems:
Problem gambling coincides with high rates of co-morbidity (the existence of other conditions such as alcohol and drug use and mental health issues, particularly depression) and cross addiction. There is also considerable evidence that people gamble to alleviate psychological problems.
A recent Australian study (Monash University and the University of Melbourne, Risk and Protective Factors, Depression and Comorbidities in Problem Gambling, 2008) found that problem gamblers were at risk of depression at a rate of 71.4% and were likely to have an alcohol problem at a rate of 50%. Read Beyond Blue's fact sheet on problem gambling and depression (PDF 183.7 KB) or our Problem Gambling and Mental Health Fact Sheet (PDF 165.5 KB).
If you require help or emergency assistance for a mental health issue please dial 000 or call one of the support services below.
Crisis Care (South Australia)
131 611 (after hours, local call fee)
Assessment and Crisis Intervention Service (South Australia)
13 14 65 (24 hours, 7 days)
131 114 (24 hours, 7 days)
beyondblue info line (National)
1300 22 4636 (local call fee)