Gambling Addiction: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Gambling is a pleasant pastime for many individuals, but it may become a problem for some of them. “Problem gambling” is a term used to describe the obsessive activity.

Gambling addiction is a chronic condition with several harmful psychological, physical, and societal consequences. Therefore, it is classified as an impulsivity condition. 

Gambling addiction is hazardous to both mental and physical health. Depression, migraines, uneasiness, digestive difficulties, and other anxiety-related issues are common among those who suffer from this addiction.

Like those of other addictions, gambling’s repercussions can lead to emotions of despair and powerlessness. Suicide attempts are not uncommon as a result of this.

Problem gambling has become more prevalent worldwide in recent years. Gambling addiction has become a significant public health issue in many nations due to its negative implications.

cards and statistics


The following are some of the symptoms and indicators of problem gambling:

  • Gambling is an emotional issue with financial ramifications rather than a financial problem.
  • It also affects how the disordered person interacts with their family and friends. For example, they may miss essential family gatherings or work.
  • “Can I quit if I want to?” someone concerned about their gambling might wonder. If the answer is “no,” it’s critical to seek assistance. 


The DSM-5 stipulates that a person must have shown or experienced at least four of the following in the previous 12 months to be diagnosed with gambling addiction:

  • To feel exciting, you must wager with increasing quantities of money.
  • When trying to stop gambling, you may experience restlessness or anger.
  • Attempts to prohibit, restrict, or minimize gambling have failed several times.
  • Frequently considering gambling and preparing to gamble
  • When you’re upset, you may risk.
  • After losing money, you decide to bet again.
  • To hide gambling activities, people lie.
  • Gambling has caused issues in your relationship or at work.
  • Having to rely on others for money to gamble 
Doctor and patient


Gambling addiction can result in various issues, but it can strike anybody.

No one can anticipate who will develop a gambling addiction. The activity can be categorized on a spectrum from abstention through recreational gambling to problem gambling.

Gambling becomes a problem when gambling becomes uncontrollable and interferes with finances, relationships, or employment. For an extended period, the person may be unaware of their condition.

Many persons who acquire a gambling addiction are seen as responsible and trustworthy, but certain circumstances might cause them to change their ways. 

Some examples are:

  • difficult conditions around retirement
  • job-related stress, mental turmoil (depression or anxiety), loneliness
  • external influences such as relationships or accessible opportunities, the presence of other addictions

According to our research, people who have a penchant for one addiction may be more likely to develop another.

A combination of genetic and neurological factors may be at play.

Some persons plagued by gambling may also have an alcohol or drug problem, possibly due to addiction’s genetic susceptibility. In addition, certain drugs have been related to an increased risk of compulsive gambling.

Secondary addictions might develop due to the gambling addiction to alleviate the destructive emotions it causes. Some gamblers, on the other hand, never develop any other habit. 

Some variables make it more likely. Among them are:

  • depression, anxiety disorders, or personality problems are all mental illnesses.
  • other addictions, such as drugs or alcohol
  • use of certain medications, such as antipsychotics and dopamine agonists, which have been linked to a higher risk of gambling addiction
  • sex, since it affects males more than women 

Excessive play is known to hurt the human brain. Would you like to know more information on this topic? The most recent research is outlined in the article “Gambling Addiction and the Brain.”

analyzing the results


Gambling is comparable to taking a drug or drinking for someone with a gambling addiction. Gambling affects a person’s emotions and mental condition. As the individual grows accustomed to this sensation, they continue to repeat the activity to get the same result. In some addictions, such as alcohol, the person is tolerant of the substance. However, for the same “buzz,” more significant amounts of alcohol are required.

To achieve the same “high,” a gambler addicted to gambling must bet more. They “chase” their losses in some cases, believing that if they keep gambling, they will be able to recover their losses. 

A vicious cycle ensues, increasing the desire to engage in the activity. The capacity to resist falls at the exact moment. The ability to manage the temptation to gamble deteriorates as the need develops in strength and frequency.

This can have psychological, emotional, physical, social, and professional consequences. Neither the frequency of gaming nor the quantity lost will establish whether or not a person has a gambling problem.

Some people gamble on occasion rather than daily, but the emotional and financial effects are the same. Gambling becomes a problem when a person is unable to quit doing it, and it has a detrimental influence on any aspect of their lives. 


Treatment is divided into three categories:

  • Therapy: Behavior therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy are two options for treatment (CBT). By consistently exposing a person to gambling, behaviour therapy can help them diminish their desire to bet. CBT helps people improve how they feel and think about gambling.
  • Medications: Mood stabilizers and antidepressants can help alleviate the symptoms and diseases that might accompany gambling addiction. Antidepressants may also help to curb the desire to gamble. In addition, some compulsive gamblers may benefit from narcotic antagonists, medications used to treat drug addictions.
  • Self-help groups: Some people find it beneficial to talk to others going through the same thing. 

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