Gambling and mood disorders

Woman sitting on sofa with hands over her mouth and laptop on her lap

A number of participants had experienced problems with online gambling

A number of participants may remember completing a questionnaire a couple of years ago asking about gambling habits and behaviours.

Alice Metcalf, a medical student at the University of Birmingham completed her research project on the questionnaire responses for her intercalated BMedSc in Psychological Medicine.

We are very proud of Alice, who obtained a first class mark for her project and graduated with a first class degree. This was the largest ever UK study looking at the gambling behaviours of individuals with mood disorders.

Alice found moderate/severe risk of problem gambling was around four times higher in those with bipolar disorder than in the general population, and was non-significantly increased in those with unipolar depression.

In bipolar disorder, being at risk of moderate/severe problem gambling may be associated with suicidal behaviour and a rapid cycling illness course.

These findings suggest clinicians should consider assessing gambling problems in individuals with bipolar disorder. This paper has recently been accepted for publication in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete this questionnaire.