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Gambling Addiction

Gambling Addiction


The act of gambling involves placing a bet of a certain amount of value on an event with uncertain outcomes. Gambling involves risk and prize, and requires careful consideration. Learn more about the symptoms of problem gambling, and treatment options. In the United States, the legal age for gambling is 21 years. If you are underage, seek professional medical help to determine if you are at risk.

Problem gambling

Problem gambling is an addictive behavior that can lead to financial, emotional, and social problems. It can start as a mild problem, but can quickly become more serious if not treated. Previously known as compulsive or pathological gambling, this condition has been classified as an impulse control disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.

A number of studies have examined the factors that lead to problem gambling in youth. Researchers have identified elevated impulsivity in problem gamblers and a clear correlation with illicit drug use. These risk factors may be the underlying cause of young problem gamblers’ addiction. However, other risk factors may contribute to their comorbidity with problem gambling.

Several prevention programs focus on addressing the issue of problem gambling, including education and outreach. Problem gambling prevention programs can help reduce gambling-related harm and promote healthy lifestyles. These programs also include a variety of tools and resources to treat problem gamblers.


There are several signs that a person may be developing a gambling addiction, which may require professional help. Symptoms can include losing large amounts of money or compulsive behaviors. If you are concerned that you may have an addiction, talk to a trusted family member or friend. Gambling addiction is similar to other substance use disorders, and treatment must include treatment for both the addiction and the underlying condition.

Gambling addiction can affect the whole family. A spouse who gambles will become withdrawn and difficult to reach, which will have a negative impact on relationships. It can even cause a partner to lie to cover up financial problems, or work longer hours than usual to cover bills. The children of the gambler may go without basic necessities or school supplies.

Gambling addiction can be treated with medications and therapy. Psychiatric medications, antiseizure medication, and antidepressants can all reduce the urge to gamble. However, psychotherapy is often more beneficial and has been shown to be more effective than medications. Individuals with gambling addictions may also benefit from financial counseling and self-help interventions.


There are a variety of methods for treating gambling addiction, including in-patient programs, out-patient programs, and residential treatment facilities. Even if a gambler completes treatment, there is a chance that he or she will continue to engage in risky behaviors. In order to prevent a relapse, treatment for gambling addiction should include learning new coping strategies and behaviors, as well as developing new ways to avoid temptation.

The first step in treating gambling addiction is to get a diagnosis from a mental health professional or physician. A medical history and psychiatric evaluation will help determine whether a person has a mental illness that is contributing to their compulsive behavior. The American Psychiatric Association has created a DSM-5 questionnaire to formalize the diagnosis of gambling addiction. Other countries also use other diagnostic questionnaires.

Another option for treating gambling addiction is to enroll in a 12-Step program or individual therapy. Behavioral exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are common treatments for gambling addiction. Support groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous, can also be helpful. Family members and friends can also support the individual. While it is important not to push the person to seek treatment, providing support and encouragement can help minimize the emotional effects of a gambling addiction.