Gambling addiction

Gambling addictionGambling addiction (compulsive gambling, gambling disorder) is an inclination to gamble ceaselessly regardless of hurtful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Gambling addiction is frequently characterized by whether harm is experienced by the player or others, rather than by the gambler’s behavior. A severe gambling addiction might be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the patient meets certain criteria. Pathological gambling is a common issue that is related to both social and family costs.

Problem gambling is addictive conduct with a high comorbidity with an alcohol disorder. A typical element shared by individuals who experience it is impulsivity. 


There is no one-size-fits-all reason that individuals start to gamble. Spots like Las Vegas and Atlantic City are appealing to some as a result of their intrinsic curiosity and excitement, and to others as a competitive part of some games. But several factors can contribute to a gambling addiction such as urgency for money, the desire to experience thrills and highs, the social status of a successful gambler, the entertaining atmosphere, etc. 

Read also: Game addiction

Signs and symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms of gambling addiction and it is considered that having at least four of them in the 12 months might be diagnosed as a gambling disorder. 

  • Needs to gamble with expanding amounts of money to receive the desired excitement 
  • Is anxious or irritable when trying to cut down or stop gambling 
  • Has unsuccessfully attempted to control, cut back, or quit gambling
  • Is regularly engaged in gambling (e.g., having steady contemplations of remembering past gambling experiences, handicapping or arranging the following venture, considering approaches to get money for gambling)
  • Commonly gambles when feeling bothered (e.g., vulnerable, helpless, anxious, blameworthy, on edge) 
  • After losing money gambling, often comes back another day to get even (“pursuing” one’s misfortunes) 
  • Lies to hide the degree of involvement in gambling
  • Gambles even when doesn’t have the money (money to pay bills, credit cards, borrowed or even stolen things for gambling money)
  • Has imperiled or lost a noteworthy relationship, employment, education or career opportunity as a result of gambling 
  • Relies on others to provide money to soothe desperate money related circumstances brought by gambling

Side effects of gambling addiction 

Many problem gamblers suffer from substance abuse issues, stress, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Excessive gambling sometimes even lead to suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Losing everything because of gambling is devastating and leaves numerous individuals feeling miserable.

Depression and anxiety can cause some physical symptoms as well such as sleep deprivation, weight gain or weight loss, pale skin, dark circle under the eyes, acne. 

Numerous gamblers go to drugs, alcohol and different activities to reduce the anxiety expedited by the gambling way of life. Regardless of whether a gambler never encounters money related ruin because of the way of life, they may struggle with drug and alcohol addiction for the rest of life after self-curing to manage the pressure. Additionally, relationships are frequently harmed because of gambling.

To overcome the gambling problems, you’ll also need to address these and any other underlying causes.


Treatment options for gambling addiction include counseling, medication, self-help, peer-support, step-based programs, or a combination of these. Therefore, no way of treatment is considered efficient for pathological gambling by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is a regular treatment for gambling problems. The idea is taken from Alcoholics Anonymous and it uses a 12-step model that involves a shared help approach. 

There are few in-patient treatment centers in the world. One form of counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to reduce symptoms and gambling-related urges. This kind of treatment is focused on identification gambling-related thought process, state of mind and cognitive distortions that expand one’s weakness to gambling. Furthermore, CBT approaches often use ability building strategies intended for backsliding aversion, perseverance and gambling refusal, critical thinking and support of gambling-inconsistent activities and interests.

As to behavioral treatment, some ongoing examination encourages the utilization of both activities like scheduling and desensitization in the treatment of gambling problems.

One more treatment option for gambling addiction is motivational interviewing. It encourages to be ready for change through thinking and resolving mixed feelings. Staying away from aggressive confrontation, labeling, blaming, direct influence, the questioner supplies sympathy and guidance to compulsive gamblers who characterize their aim. The focus is on advancing the opportunity of decision and empowering trust in the ability to change.

A developing strategy for treatment is peer support. With the headway of online gambling, many players encountering issues utilize different online peer support groups to help their recuperation. This secures their anonymity while enabling them to endeavor recuperation all alone, regularly without unveiling their issues to friends and family.

It has been shown that one-third of pathological gamblers overcome it by natural recovery using a self-help way of treatment. This could include visiting specific web resources for information, tools, and support, watching videos of people talking about their experience, telephone counseling, joining Gamblers Anonymous, speaking to a specialist. 

Medication cannot treat gambling addiction directly and mostly focused on reducing the anxiety and depression that results from gambling. The most common drugs used are anti-anxiety and antidepressant medicines.