Gambling Experiences
AO Gambling Experiences

Mental health conditions and neurodiversity

Some people have explained how they used gambling to cope with mental health conditions or neurodiversity. Alternately, these conditions make gambling especially dangerous for them. These conditions mean gambling has an even stronger influence on them to gamble more and more.

People with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) have said that gambling can easily become part of repetitive thoughts and behaviours.

But with OCD, the compulsion element to gambling for not being, for anyone out there who suffers with mental health and certainly the diagnosis I have, who cannot say no, who cannot put boundaries in place, the world of gambling is the worst place they could ever get into. Literally the worst place you can ever get into, because you are just absolutely loving it. It is everything, everything wrong for that condition.

It’s all mental. Certain triggers do certain things. If you have a web, especially in your mind, and it’s telling you to do things, you’re very easily influenced. You may be not feeling too good. When you’re on top of the world, you can fight it if that makes sense.

People with neurodiversity, especially Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), say that gambling helps them to slow down the agitation in their minds, or makes gambling very appealing or hard to control. 

I was a vulnerable person without realising it maybe. Somebody who now knows he’s got ADHD and as soon as you open a gambling app wow, what a place to hyper focus and take your attention away from all the stuff in your mind, which I didn’t realise then but I’m seeing now. No wonder this got me when they’ve got these addictive products available 24 hours a day and there’s me and my head all over the place, and then there’s this place I can go, which allows my brain essentially to calm down is how it felt. It can’t, because I always imagined my brain as like a computer, with lots of different tabs in and I can’t stay on one tab. I’ve got to keep moving. Except when open that gambling tab, you know, it was different. I could stay there.

And it was all triggered, basically, I was I think I was five pounds short on the monthly rent at that point, with my salary coming in. A neurotypical person without a gambling compulsion would naturally just turn round to their landlord or whatever and say Oh, I’m really sorry, I’m five pounds short on the rent this month and I’ll get you the extra five pounds within the next week or so but here is the majority of it. But me with my compulsive brain and how it worked around the gambling, I had convinced myself that that five pounds wasn’t going to be made up or matched unless I gambled with the rest and my my intentions were sort of, I’ll put £10 on here, I’ll win 20 pounds and I’ll have five pounds to gamble with and I’ll have the 15 pounds to match up the rent. I’m sure you’ve heard many stories that that wasn’t the case and that didn’t happen because £10 just crept into £20 and £30 and before I knew it the entire month’s salary was gone. Like I say, within the space of an hour and a half, two hours.


Some people have had trauma in their childhoods, or traumatic experiences through life. This often leaves them with difficult patterns of thoughts and emotions. Gambling becomes a way for them to cope, change how they are feeling or escape.

I couldn’t stop things from happening, and I think that goes from way back, way, way back. I couldn’t stop things from happening. I couldn’t change people’s minds. I didn’t understand why people didn’t love me. And why people left me. So, finding solace in a, what’s the word, pernicious, pernicious industry, finding solace in a game, that completely dominated my world, was madness, complete madness.

I didn’t really have enough value on myself or my life, the people in my life or myself, to consider the damage I was doing. So, I guess as a personal thing, there was obviously a lot of other stuff going on alongside the gambling, which made me think that it didn’t really matter how much damage I was doing.

Some people turn to gambling when they go through a traumatic experience. 

I was just doing anything that I wanted really, yes, at the time I was being abused. I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody because he’d already told me what he was going to do. He targeted the people that was my family, and so, for me, every time he abused me, the only way I could suppress that is by going and gambling and being in an environment where I felt safe in. I used to go to in the bookie shops even though I was only 15, and again, not really challenged on my age, at that particular time, but it was like my safe place. I started to enjoy being in there rather than socialising with friends even, and that’s, I’m still only 15 years of age, don’t forget. I was self-isolating myself already at the age of 15, to society because the only place I felt safe at that particular time and throughout the whole two years I was being abused, was in the bookmakers.


I lost my daughter unexpectedly and that just transformed my life, and I lost my motivation and my interests, and it just fizzled out very, very quickly. And then sadly, the FOBT addiction took over… After what happened, I just lost a lot of interest in life, quite frankly. You know, I mean, it affected me in many ways, so it just fizzled out. The addiction drifted into my life, and before I knew it, I’d lost all my savings and home and found myself in a very bad place.

Get Support

If you feel like you need support or someone to talk to about your own or someone else’s gambling, there are several organisations who can offer help, support and answer any questions you may have.

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We are inviting people to share their experiences of any kind of difficulties due to gambling.