What is Gambling Addiction?
Gambling addiction is categorized as a mental health disorder, sharing resemblances with other addictions like substance abuse and impulse-control conditions such as pyromania or kleptomania. In each instance, the individual grappling with the addiction finds it arduous to cease their actions, even when they acknowledge the harm it inflicts upon themselves and their close ones. It’s crucial to note that the symptoms and severity of gambling addiction can vary among individuals. Several prevalent manifestations of gambling addiction include the subsequent categories.
When an individual is incapable of managing their urge to gamble.
Even when they’re aware that they can’t afford losses, they will still seek chances to place bets and wagers.
A person with a gambling addiction will persist in gambling, irrespective of whether they experience victories or losses, and without considering the potential outcomes.
This is also known as pathological gambling
When an individual displays signs of compulsive gambling tendencies, but restricted to specific times or intervals.
A binge gambler might seem to have their issue under control for the majority of the time.
Could go through weeks or months without showing any indications of having a gambling problem.
Their compulsive gambling tendencies will become evident when they initiate betting, even if it occurs infrequently.
When an individual is not fully compelled by addiction, yet their habits are not entirely within their grasp.
A person with gambling issues will engage in gambling behaviors that disrupt their regular life.
Real end up pursuing lost bets or deceiving their close ones regarding their gambling patterns.
May come to recognize that they are increasingly unable to refrain from gambling.
Problem Gambling & Addiction: Myths vs. Facts
The concern with gambling arises when the individual engaging in it cannot financially handle the losses they incur.
Though financial difficulties frequently emerge as a significant outcome of gambling addiction, a person might face a severe issue even in the absence of financial struggles. This could manifest as neglecting work responsibilities or strained relationships, for example.
Individuals who gamble on an occasional basis cannot be classified as problem gamblers.
Gamblers might overlook the indications of their behavior turning into compulsive if they solely gamble during specific instances, like a particular sports season or a visit to a casino. Nonetheless, if the betting conducted during these periods meets the criteria for compulsive gambling, an issue could still exist.
Individuals who are responsible typically do not encounter issues with gambling.
Addiction can arise in anyone, irrespective of their typical level of responsibility. Although gambling might prompt someone to engage in less responsible behaviors, this does not imply a lack of responsibility in other aspects of their life. This condition results in a loss of control and is a disorder in itself.
Only adults can experience the consequences of problem gambling; it does not impact children and young individuals.
In recent times, children and adolescents are not only increasingly dedicating funds to gambling, particularly due to mobile gaming, but they can also be influenced indirectly by a family member with gambling habits, which could shape their perspective on gambling in the future.
Assisting a loved one who struggles with gambling issues can involve aiding them in settling their debts or providing support to overcome their financial difficulties.
While it might be challenging for family members and close friends to come to terms with, it is frequently not effective to settle the debts of an individual dealing with gambling issues. Instead of addressing the root problem, this action can create a sense of having a financial safety net, potentially leading them to take greater risks in the future and engage in more gambling.
The most recent diagnostic criteria (from 2018) established by the American Psychiatric Association for compulsive gambling disorder require the presence of at least four of the following indicators within the past year. However, these symptoms should not be taken into account if they stem from a distinct mental health condition.
9 Signs of Gambling Addiction in Adults
Please bear in mind that solely reviewing this list will not suffice to determine the presence of a gambling addiction. To obtain an accurate diagnosis, it is crucial to consult a mental health expert, such as a therapist or psychiatrist. Seeking professional guidance is essential to precisely diagnose the condition and to eliminate the possibility of other mental health disorders that could be responsible for these behaviors. This is particularly important because individuals dealing with gambling addictions frequently exhibit higher rates of coexisting disorders like substance use, depression, and anxiety. Moreover, for an accurate diagnosis, a trained medical professional needs to conduct a comprehensive assessment to ensure that another medical issue is not the underlying cause of these behaviors.
4 factors of Gambling Addiction
The precise cause remains uncertain, yet numerous factors may play a role. While connections between family gambling patterns exist, establishing direct causality is challenging. Additional considerations include mental health conditions (like substance use disorder), the age of initial gambling engagement, and the magnitude of initial winnings.
Factors, such as an individual’s cognitive approach to gambling, can play a role in determining whether they develop a gambling problem. Many individuals believe that the Gambler’s fallacy offers a seemingly logical justification for compulsive behaviors.
The Gambler’s fallacy revolves around the idea that a sequence of independent events will influence the probabilities of future independent events. For example, if a fair coin is flipped five times and lands on heads each time, the likelihood of the next flip resulting in tails remains 50%—since the coin is unbiased. Nonetheless, the Gambler’s fallacy suggests that the coin is more likely to land on tails in subsequent flips to “compensate” for the previous outcomes. This perception can further incentivize compulsive gamblers to chase losses, convinced that their luck will change soon.
Moreover, it’s been noted that fast-paced games tend to trigger problematic behaviors. For instance, a slot machine featuring rapid bet placement might hold more appeal for those with issues than a lottery game that can only be played once per day.
A significant contributor to problem gambling is rooted in biology, as certain aspects of compulsive gambling resemble those observed in other forms of addiction. Neuroimaging has revealed that a gambling victory can trigger a neurological reaction akin to the response seen when an individual with a cocaine addiction is administered the substance. Furthermore, deficits in norepinephrine (a stress and threat-associated neurotransmitter) and serotonin (a neurotransmitter associated with happiness and well-being) have been associated with compulsive behaviors. Genetic studies have also identified risk factors that suggest a genetic predisposition to developing impulse control or addiction disorders.
Can also contribute to the emergence of these behaviors. Stress or challenges in one’s personal or professional life might trigger behaviors in individuals with gambling issues, although they may not necessarily be the direct cause of such compulsions. The societal context in which someone resides can also increase their vulnerability. Instances of gambling dependency and addiction may escalate during periods of social isolation or when individuals are confined to their homes. For more insights, you can explore our related guide on responsible gambling during the COVID-19 pandemic on the Casino.org blog.
Moreover, connections can be established between gambling problems and conditions like depression, distress, feelings of loneliness, significant life events, and inadequate social support from peers. Gambling addiction often exhibits familial patterns, wherein certain traits can be inherited or might influence younger family members based on their upbringing in such an environment.
The numerous factors exist that heighten the probability of developing a gambling issue. Individuals with dependencies on alcohol or substances have displayed greater susceptibility to compulsive gambling. Several psychological conditions have also been recognized as elements that increase the risk of developing gambling addictions. These encompass personality disorders, depressive disorders, and anxiety disorders.
Recognizing You Have a Problem
If you’ve recognized your issue, are sensing the development of a problem, or have received concerns from friends or family, it’s crucial to seek assistance.
The signs of gambling problems might appear apparent, especially to those caught in compulsive betting, yet it’s surprisingly common for both gamblers and those in their circle to overlook them. This is partly due to the fact that many complications linked to problem gambling can be rationalized by the individual, effectively concealing the issue.
Although definitions of gambling addiction and problem gambling vary globally and among various organizations, most experts concur on the indicators and symptoms linked to the condition.
The American Association of Psychiatry suggests certain fundamental self-help techniques to manage cravings if you sense the emergence of a problem.
Negative Effects of Gambling
Certain adverse consequences of gambling are easily noticeable, while others might be less conspicuous.
Naturally, persistent gambling can lead individuals into profound financial distress. An individual gripped by compulsive gambling can swiftly amass substantial debts, potentially resulting in destitution due to the strain of gambling-related expenses. This might include the loss of housing or even eventual bankruptcy. In dire cases, financial difficulties could spiral into legal troubles, as some compulsive gamblers resort to theft or other illicit means to fund their compulsion.
One of the most vital negative impacts to acknowledge involves the mental toll that gambling issues can inflict. The actions taken as a result of this disorder can create divisions in vital relationships or jeopardize an individual’s professional trajectory. Additionally, a spectrum of other conditions may be linked to gambling addiction, whether it arises prior to or after grappling with the disorder. Compulsive gambling can also induce feelings of depression or even drive individuals toward suicidal thoughts.
A gambling addiction can also have repercussions on those closest to the person affected. According to data, families of individuals dealing with this behavior are more susceptible to instances of child abuse or other forms of domestic violence. Even children who aren’t directly impacted by their parents’ gambling problem could later develop issues such as depression, substance abuse, or behavioral disorders.
Gambling Addiction Help Worldwide
Argentina – Responsible Gambling – 0800-333-0333, WhatsApp 011-1524416058
Belgium – VAD – 02 423 03 33
Brazil – Anonymous Gamblers – (11) 3229-1023
Canada – ProblemGambling – 1-866-531-2600
Chile – Psychologists Ludopathy Chile – 9 222 3860
Germany – Responsible Gaming: Gambling Addiction – 0800-1 37 27 00
Spain – FEJAR – 900 200 225
France – IFAC – + 33 (0)2 40 84 76 20
Italy – TVNGA – 800 55 88 22
Netherlands – AGOG – 0900-2177721 (€ 0.10 per minute)
Norway – Hjelpelinjen – 800 800 40
Austria – Gambling Addiction Help – (1) 544 13 57
Portugal – Responsible Gambling – 213 950 911 (SICAD – Service for Intervention on Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies)
Switzerland – Addiction Switzerland – 021 321 29 11
Sweden – Support Line – 020-819 100 (09:00 to 21:00)