Did you know that brain injury appears to be a risk factor for developing a gambling problem?

One study found persons with TBI were 2.8 time more likely to have a gambling problem than those without a TBI. These findings remained constant even after controlling for psychological distress and drinking behavior.

The link between brain injury and gambling addiction could be due to multiple factors:

  • Dis-inhibition
  • Impulsivity
  • Obsessive behavior
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired reasoning
  • Difficulty keeping track of the amount of money spent
  • Difficulty making a reasonable decisions about whether or not to keep playing
  • Difficulty understanding the damage it is causing their lives
  • Social effects of a brain injury can impact problem gambling behavior:
    • Relationships can become strained because friends and family don’t understand the difficulties and needs experienced by brain injury survivors
    • Brain injury survivors feel misunderstood, and experience feelings of frustration, loneliness, and isolation

If you are concerned about a gambling problem, 211 is Maine’s Problem Gambling Helpline. Dial 211 or text your zip code to 898-211.

Resources Consulted:

Disabilities and problem gambling



Traumatic brain injury as an independent risk factor for problem gambling: a matched case-control study:



Traumatic brain injuries and problem gambling in youth: Evidence from a population-based study of secondary students in Ontario, Canada:



Moderate to severe gambling problems and traumatic brain injury: A population-based study:



Risk of problem gambling increases after traumatic brain injury



History of brain injury may increase later risk of problem gambling



Dangers of gambling after a brain injury



Responding to Acquired Brain Injury in Problem Gambling Treatment