As America’s online resource for gambling “addiction” therapy our focus is on the mental and behavioral health of clients and patients. However, it should come as no surprise that compromised mental health can manifest itself in physical form. There are direct, indirect, and cooccurring relationships at play that could negatively alter your physiological state. Moreover, a number of physical manifestations come as an unwelcome surprise to most of the compulsive gambling population. It’s these effects that we will explore today. After all, it’s the physical consequences of gambling that often deliver the wake up call needed to seek immediate help. If you are a habitual gambler (casino gaming and/or sports betting) and have recognized any of the physiological concerns listed below, reach out to a Kindbridge care coordinator right away.
5 Unhealthy Physical Effects of Gambling Addiction That You Probably Didn’t Know About
Inability to Sleep
Have you ever found that you can’t sleep after gambling? You’re not alone. Compulsive gambling can negatively alter sleep in the following ways:
- Creates adrenaline and cortisol imbalances
- Blue-light-emitting technology used in online gambling disturbs the natural sleep-wake cycle
- Land-based casinos designed to disrupt circadian rhythm
- Concurrent psychological factors disrupt sleep
For deeper insight, please read this article on why you can’t sleep after gambling.
Unhealthy Weight Gain
Has your uptick in casino gaming and/or sports betting corresponded to weight gain? You may be experiencing yet another physical effect of gambling. Compulsive gambling is connected to obesity in the following ways:
- Gambling and eating together out of boredom
- Increased access to unhealthy food in casinos and gambling environments
- Physical immobility during extended periods of mobile gaming
- Concurrent behavioral health conditions
For more information, please read this article on the gambling and obesity connection.
Unhealthy Weight Loss
On the flip side of weight gain (above) is the potential for excessive weight loss. There’s a fine line regarding weight management and a compulsive gambling lifestyle that is replete with poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and poor sleeping habits. For some people it leads to weight gain, while for others it can lead to digestive disorders and rapid weight loss.
There is another related (to unhealthy weight loss) concern on the horizon that we feel is worth mentioning. In one of the most crass attempts to prey on insecurities and leverage mainstream acceptance of gambling, tech firms have gamified weight loss by enabling people who want to lose weight fast to literally wager on their “success”. Apps such as DietBet and HealthyWage are examples of online platforms that facilitate the gambling practice. Not only has this offshoot industry been tightlipped about their profits, it may lead those who struggle with weight management (and gambling?) down a dangerous path:
“The fact that they ‘gamify’ weight loss and add a competitive element to losing weight would be hugely detrimental to those with poor relationships with food. Those with eating disorders could use a website such as this to justify dieting and restriction for monetary gain. That could have significant impacts on both mental and physical health.”BBC
Research has identified a cooccurring relationship between problem gambling and chronic pain. For one, increased gambling problem severity is associated with higher levels of physical health problems and decreased physical functioning which are frequently associated with elevated pain. In addition, chronic pain and pathological gambling have been found to be associated with similar deficits in emotional decision making processes. Furthermore, individuals living with elevated pain and pathological gambling may be prone to sedentary lifestyles.
Compromised Sexual Performance
For many, this is the most surprising and concerning physical consequence of gambling. Compulsive gambling can negatively alter sexual performance in the following ways:
- Creates adrenaline and cortisol imbalances
- Related sleep deprivation can lead to reduced sexual desire and arousal
- Drives a wedge between partners
- Concurrent psychological factors disrupt sexual performance
For more information, please read this article on the gambling and sex drive problems, and how sports betting is connected to erectile dysfunction.
Are you experiencing one or more of the above physical concerns? Have they manifested at the height of your participation in casino gaming and/or sports betting? Find out if there is a connection and get access to appropriate mental health support services.
CALL +1 (877) 426-4258