How Can Gambling
Affect My Mood?

Gambling has an impact on your brain and your mood.

Gambling can be fun and exciting. The reward network in your brain ‘lights up’ when you gamble. This is how you experience pleasure.

However, when gambling becomes a problem, it can lower your mood, even to the point of depression.

Depression & Problem Gambling

We all have a ‘setpoint’ for our mood. The mood setpoint is your natural mood state. Setpoints shift slightly with day-to-day activities.

When you gamble and experience pleasure, your mood setpoint goes up temporarily. When it’s over, your mood returns to its normal setpoint. When gambling becomes a problem, though, your mood setpoint can go down.

Mood setpoints change when you are under stress. Gambling problems are very stressful because of debts, secrecy and arguments.

When your mood setpoint lowers, activities you usually enjoy don’t seem to be fun or exciting. You might try to gamble more just to feel pleasure. This might not work because your mood setpoint is so low.

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