Can Nutrition Supplement Behavioral Health Treatment for Gambling Disorder?

In the fight against the problem gambling crisis, impacted Americans are looking at every opportunity to break the hold that casino gaming and sports betting has on them. While counseling specific to gambling disorder is the foundation of sustainable recovery, some are wondering if even more can be done. Given the known link between nutrition and behavioral health, could dietary adjustments be part of a holistic plan to battle the behavioral health disorder known as problem gambling? It’s certainly worth a look.

*Always consult with a physician before altering or supplementing diet.

Exploring the Potential for Nutritional Interventions to Complement Behavioral Health Therapy in the Treatment of Problem Gambling

Nutrition Effective in Treating Cooccurring Issues

There are mental and behavioral health issues that may increase one’s vulnerability to, or cooccur with, gambling disorder. Among these are depression, anxiety, and stress. Research has found that dietary adjustments can have a beneficial impact on treating symptoms of each. For example, studies show that the polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) Omega-3 is more effective than a placebo in managing symptoms of depression in both adults and youth. Interestingly, results of a recent study support the hypothesis that alteration of basal PUFA composition exists in disorders characterized by high impulsivity, including problem gambling, although more research is required. Meanwhile, bodies of research have shown that certain strains of ginseng may suppress the occurrence of anxiety and depression. One naturally occurring (in the human body) compound, phosphatidylserine, which is also found in foods such as soy and cabbage, helps deliver norepinephrine and epinephrine to the brain, which helps to stabilize mood and reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, depression.

These are examples of natural nutrients that can be beneficial in managing symptoms of mental/behavioral health concerns that cooccur with problem gambling.

Nutrition Effective in Treating Other Symptoms of Problem Gambling

There are physical effects of problem gambling that can be treated with nutritional intervention. These physical consequences include the following:

  • Inability to sleep
  • Unhealthy weight gain
  • Unhealthy weight loss
  • Chronic pain

Compulsive gambling creates cortisol imbalances which alter above-mentioned sleeping patterns. Therefore, natural compounds that restore balance to cortisol, such as magnolia bark, could be beneficial to some problem gamblers. Nutrients that are proven to reduce inflammation, including specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) derived from PUFAs, can mitigate chronic pain which may make them a worthy addition to the pantries of problem gamblers. Lastly, there is a logical relationship between nutritional intervention and the management of unhealthy weight gain and weight loss due to problem gambling.

Counseling Remains the Foundation of Problem Gambling Support

The information above supports physician-approved nutritional interventions to improve behavioral health. However, we cannot be more clear in the assertion that the foundation for problem gambling treatment is counseling from therapists who are explicitly trained in the behavioral health disorder. Reach out via the contacts provided below if you, or a loved one, is struggling with casino gaming and/or sports betting.

Concerned About Gambling’s Impact on Your Health?

CALL +1 (877) 426-4258


Email [email protected]

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