Negative Psychological Effects of Problem & Compulsive Gambling

Why do people gamble? The human brain loves uncertainty and excitement. What could be a trigger for gambling? And especially why do certain players stay in the game, even when it is evident or obvious that they will continue to lose money? The answer is hidden in human psychology.

There are many reasons for people to engage in gambling. It could be the adrenaline rush or an unquenchable desire to win money. Some of us would like to socialize or escape from worries or stress, and gambling helps to achieve that. Nevertheless, gambling may be very dangerous for certain types of people. More precisely certain types of personalities have difficulties in controlling their temper. Things could easily get out of control.

Once you read that often-used warning that if you find yourself betting more than you can afford to lose, borrowing money, or simply feeling excessively anxious about gambling, you may be sitting with a serious problem. Problem gambling is a big issue and it should be properly studied and understood. It is a good idea to explore major features of the Responsible Online Gambling Guide in that process to be adequately prepared for all the challenges lying ahead.

Usually, everything starts with the first visit to a casino or a similar establishment. Things could become very complicated pretty soon if a phenomenon of beginner’s luck strikes. It refers to a scenario when a new player experiences a disproportionate frequency of success or even worse when the novice succeeds in a gambling duel against an expert.

After some initial successes, a young gambling soul may be experiencing a false feeling of high self-esteem and unfounded confidence. A sobering-up process starts as soon as the first significant losses are recorded. It leads to further losses and pretty soon we see that all magic is gone. That’s why we should now investigate, analyze and study the most significant effects of problem gambling.

Low Self-Esteem

Every problem gambler learned one way or the other that the gambling house always wins in the long run. This naked truth is really hard to ignore. People may pretend that there are exceptions, or they simply may entertain a principle of cognitive dissonance and ignore any rational approach. Instead of having a clear picture about gambling and firmly establishing red lines upfront, many problem gamblers act differently.

Problem gamblers have inconsistent beliefs, thoughts, or even attitudes about their behavioral decisions. It is akin to a smoker who is fully aware of the grave dangers of his or her pastime, especially in terms of negative influences on the lungs, yet continues to smoke, thinking that ‘one lives only once’ or ‘many people smoke and reached a very old age’ and so on. Thus, we have a person who consistently cultivates a truly irrational idea of him/her winning. Of course, if winning fails to materialize, the person unmistakably develops low self-esteem and the plot thickens. The psychological side of a player enters a state of shock!

Emotional Stress

If you continue to gamble, your massive losses notwithstanding, the ugly feeling of low self-esteem persists and even increases. Players still cling to that elusive hope and an irrational idea that ‘they have to win at some point’ and their downfall continues. They spend more and more money and, in that process, may incur some serious debts.

That flow of events creates a very stressful environment and we are at this point looking for more troubles. Furthermore, we cannot exclude emotions when it comes to gambling, as they are an essential part of the entire process. A serious roller-coaster of emotions is related to any gambling, both positive and negative, such as regret, guilt, or even anger. Any time you are gambling these emotions may surface and strongly influence your psychological horizons. If you are stressed you started to feel the full might of problem gambling.

These negative effects may influence your ability to feel or act and you are ready for the next phase called anxiety!

Picture of a woman feeling stressed.


Instead of a pleasant activity, as gambling originally looked like, suddenly we see an anxious and nervous person desperately trying to compensate for losses, while simultaneously and steadily being absorbed in a deep quicksand.

Due to consistent stress and crazy expectations to win, at a certain point anxiety kick in, and chances of getting out of the massive problems swiftly fade away. Highly likely, problem gamblers can be saved from further serious consequences at this stage only if they swiftly and genuinely ask for professional help.

Many people in such situations managed to save their lives and careers only after many psychotherapeutic sessions. An essential ingredient in this recovery process is unconditional and stubborn support from family and friends, which is not always available at this stage. Anxiety is a pretext for more serious trials and tribulations. The psychological issues deepen and the danger for a player grows rapidly.


As a rule of thumb, a pathological gambler will lose all his money and at one point the incurred debts may reach dangerous heights. As a result of constant losses and insufficient wins, it is possible to develop symptoms of depression. In other words, starting with low self-esteem, stressful times pushed a problem gambler towards anxiety and a logical consequence, if the symptoms were not treated, is a full-blown depression. This happens as the total opposite from the very beginning when gambling was an extremely pleasurable and joyful activity.

Suddenly we have a person with a mental health diagnosis which demands immediate and prolonged therapy. This may happen to any player who ignores warning signs and continues with highly irresponsible behavior. Depression is a serious menace and it should be treated. Ask yourself only one question now: can you tolerate something like that happening to you?

Am I addicted?

Depression and addiction may be unexpected brothers-in-arms. They may feed one another. We clearly see now all the negative symptoms and may conclude that compulsive gamblers are addicted, on one hand, and also with serious psychological issues, on the other hand. Any family that fought with a gambling addiction may tell you about the sheer madness, pain, and misery they have experienced for quite some time. It is heartbreaking and sad, actually a very sad state of affairs.

However, most of the players would never develop a gambling addiction. They will act smartly and rationally. The whole concept of gambling addiction is similar to alcohol consumption. If you drink moderately, it may be in order, however, if you drink or gamble excessively it is practically certain that you are set to become an addict.

A desperate man losing money playing a card game at the gambling table.


What should be done to avoid any form of gambling addiction? When we take all these considerations into account and analyze them very carefully, certain conclusions will be arrived at. There are positive effects of gambling, and it includes dopamine, excitement, socializing, networking, entertainment, great fun, and so on. However, if you bite more than you can chew, very unpleasant developments are guaranteed. Therefore, if you would like to enjoy gambling, please be moderate and timely set your red lines and never cross them! However, if you cannot control your gambling habits, the solution may be pretty simple. You need to stop gambling and should seek professional help.