Compulsive Gambling Overview

Compulsive Gambling also called betting disorder, is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life. Gambling means that you are prepared to risk something you value in the hope of getting something of worth. Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system similar to alcohol or drugs can, result in addiction. For those who have a problem with gambling, you may always chase bets that lead to losses, hide your behavior, deplete savings, collect debt, or even resort to support your addiction. Compulsive gambling is a serious illness that can destroy lives. Lots of folks who struggle with gambling have found help through therapy, although treating compulsive gambling can be hard. Products and services, Signs and symptoms of compulsive gambling (gambling disorder) include:

Being preoccupied with gambling, such as constantly planning how to earn more gaming money needing to gamble with increasing amounts of money to get the same excitement trying to control, cut back or stop gambling, without success feeling restless or irritable when you try to cut down on gambling to escape problems or relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression hoping to reunite lost money by betting more (chasing losses), lying to family members or others to hide the extent of your gaming Jeopardizing or losing important relationships, a job, or college or work opportunities. Due to gambling resorting to theft or fraud to get gambling money asking others to bail you out of financial trouble because you gambled money away.

Unlike most gamblers that stop when losing or set a loss limit, people with a compulsive gambling problem are compelled to keep playing to regain their money.

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Where they gamble less or not at all for a period of time, may some people who have a gambling problem have remission. But without treatment, the remission isn’t permanent.

When to see a doctor or mental health professional

Have family members, friends or co-workers who expressed concern about your gambling? If so, listen to their worries. Because denial is always a feature of addictive or compulsive behavior, it may be difficult for you to see that you have a problem.

Seek professional assistance if you recognize your own behavior from the list of symptoms and signs for compulsive gambling.


What causes someone to gamble compulsively is not well-understood. Like many problems gambling may come from a combination of environmental, genetic and biological factors.

Risk factors

Although most people who play with cards or wager never develop a gambling problem, certain factors are associated with gambling:

Mental health disorders. Individuals who gamble compulsively have personality disorders, substance abuse issues, depression or anxiety. Compulsive gambling may also be associated with bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).   Age Gambling is more common in younger and middle-aged men and women. Betting during the teenage years or childhood increases
the risk of developing gambling. But, compulsive gambling in the older adult population may be a problem.   Sex Compulsive gambling is more prevalent in men than women. Women who gamble might become addicted and start in life. But gambling patterns among men and women have become increasingly similar. Family or friend sway. If your family members or
friends have a gambling problem, the odds are higher that you will, too. Medications used to treat parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome. Drugs called dopamine agonists have a side effect that may result in compulsive behaviors, including gambling. certain personality traits. Being highly aggressive, a workaholic, easily bored, restless or impulsive may increase your risk of gambling.


Compulsive gambling can have profound and long-lasting consequences for your life, for example:

Relationship problems, Financial problems, including bankruptcy Legal Issues or imprisonment Poor job performance or job loss Poor general health Suicide, suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts


Educational programs that target individuals and groups at increased risk could be helpful although there’s no way to prevent a problem.

If you have risk factors for compulsive gambling, consider avoiding gambling in any form where gambling occurs. Get treatment at the
earliest sign of an issue to help prevent gambling from becoming worse.
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