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About Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is a mental condition that can be described using several terms. Some of these include problem gambling, simply gambling, and risk gambling. No matter the term used to describe it, it is used to describe the behavior, or tendencies, of an individual who has no control over his or her gambling habits. In this article, you will get to learn more about the associated symptoms and reasons why people become addicted to gambling. You will also get an insight into research done about this compulsive behavior.

The Negative Effects of Gambling Addiction

When an individual is described as having a gambling problem, it is likely to mean any of several negative consequences of gambling on that person’s life. The effects may have an impact on a person’s health, work life, or relationships he or she has with other people in their life. Compulsive or problem gambling causes an individual to go through the emotions of anxiety, misery, and even sleeping problems. Other signs of gambling addiction include the difficulty to manage work obligations or constant conflicts with people around an individual. Other far-reaching effects affect the economy. Individuals experiencing gambling addiction are not able to pay their bills and easily get into debt just to continue playing. Compulsive gambling is a public health problem that is more common than expected and has severe consequences on the society. The good news is that it is possible to prevent gambling addiction.

Gambling Diagnosis

Pathological gambling is considered as a dependence diagnosis. This means that four out of nine dependence conditions are met. In order to come to a full diagnosis, gambling has to be seen to create a significant hardship in an individual’s life. Some signs of a possible gambling addiction problem are:

  • Constantly thinking about gambling
  • Ever increasing debts in an effort to fulfill the insatiable urge to gamble
  • A failure to control, limit, or all-together stop gambling
  • Irritability or restlessness when one attempts to limit or stop gambling
  • Gambling in order to seek relief from sadness, helplessness, guilt, anxiety, and depression
  • Any attempts to get control over the gambling urges are usually unsuccessful
  • Constantly lying when talking about the number of games played to family members, therapists or other individuals concerned about the habit
  • Increased risk of losing out on personal relationships, employment, education and or career opportunities
  • Relying on others for help in solving constant financial problems

Being a compulsive gambler has several similarities to both alcohol and drug addiction. An addiction involves a preoccupation with the habit, increased tolerance to risk, loss of control, withdrawal, and dependence – all habits that have negative social consequences on an individual. The only difference between a gambling addiction and other forms of addiction is that a compulsive gambler will always chase losses as he or she plays all the time in an effort to win back what has been lost.

To find more information on gambling addiction, check out the BeGambleAware, GamCare and Gambling Therapy websites.