Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling or gambling disorder, is a type of mental health condition characterized by a compulsive desire to gamble despite the negative consequences that arise from it. It is classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a “gambling disorder.” People with this disorder are unable to control their urge to gamble and are likely to suffer from other addictions, such as alcohol, drug, or shopping addiction. It is estimated that this issue affects more than 6 million adults in the U.S. every year, with 4 million suffering from problem gambling and 2 million suffering from gambling addiction.

Gambling Addiction Symptoms

If you’re worried that you or someone else might suffer from problem gambling or gambling addiction, you should be aware of the following common symptoms:

  • Preoccupation with gambling or gambling-related activities
  • Constant thoughts of gambling 
  • Increased gambling or activities 
  • Using gambling as escapism
  • Loss of control around gambling 
  • Financial issues caused by gambling
  • Trying to recoup gambling losses
  • Lying or stealing because of gambling

Consequences of Problem Gambling & Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is a serious issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a disorder that can have devastating consequences not only for the individual but also for their families and communities. In this section, we will discuss some of the most impactful consequences of gambling addiction:

Financial Consequences

One of the most obvious consequences of gambling addiction is the financial impact it can have on individuals and their families. Gambling can quickly spiral out of control, leading to large debts, bankruptcy, and even homelessness. Those with a gambling addiction may borrow money from friends, family, or financial institutions, leading to a cycle of debt that can be difficult to break.

Legal Consequences

Gambling addiction can also have legal consequences. Individuals with a gambling addiction may turn to illegal activities such as theft, embezzlement, or fraud to finance their addiction. This behavior can lead to criminal charges, fines, and even imprisonment. Additionally, those who gamble illegally may be at risk of losing their assets, including their homes and vehicles.

Mental Health Consequences

Gambling addiction can also have serious mental health consequences. Those with a gambling addiction may experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues as a result of their addiction. They may feel isolated and ashamed, which can lead to further mental health problems. Additionally, those with a gambling addiction may be at a higher risk of suicide.

Relationship Consequences

This condition can strain relationships with family members, friends, and significant others. The individual with the addiction may lie about their gambling or become irritable and defensive when confronted about their behavior. They may also neglect important relationships, leading to feelings of hurt and betrayal.

Workplace Consequences

Gambling addiction can also have consequences in the workplace. Those with a gambling addiction may miss work, neglect responsibilities, or even lose their job as a result of their addiction. Additionally, they may be less productive or engaged at work due to the stress and anxiety caused by their addiction.

Community Consequences

Finally, this disorder can have consequences for the community as a whole. Communities with high rates of gambling addiction may experience higher rates of crime, poverty, and other social issues. Additionally, those with a gambling addiction may require public assistance, including healthcare and housing support, which can place a strain on government resources.

Gambling Addiction Treatment

Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, is a serious condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. It is characterized by a persistent and recurrent pattern of gambling behavior, despite the negative consequences it has on an individual’s personal and financial life. However, with the right treatment, those suffering from gambling addiction can overcome their addiction and regain control of their lives.

Help Is Available

There are various types of treatment options available for gambling addiction, including therapy, medication, and support groups. Below are some common treatments for gambling addiction:

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a common form of therapy used to treat gambling addiction. It involves identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with gambling. CBT can help individuals to develop new coping skills and strategies to resist the urge to gamble.
  2. Family therapy: Family therapy is an important component of gambling addiction treatment as it helps individuals to address any underlying family issues that may be contributing to the issue. Family members can also learn how to support their loved ones throughout the recovery process.
  3. Medication: Certain medications can be used to treat gambling addiction. Naltrexone, for example, is a medication that has been shown to reduce cravings and relapse rates in individuals with gambling addiction. Other medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers may also be used to treat co-occurring mental health conditions.
  4. Support groups: Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous (GA) are an important resource for individuals with gambling addiction. These groups provide a supportive environment where individuals can share their experiences and receive encouragement from others who are also in recovery.
  5. Inpatient treatment: Inpatient treatment may be recommended for individuals with severe gambling addiction. Inpatient treatment typically involves a period of detoxification followed by therapy and support groups. This type of treatment can be highly effective in helping individuals to overcome their addiction and regain control of their lives.

It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. Each individual’s treatment plan should be tailored to their specific needs and circumstances. It is also important to seek treatment from a qualified healthcare professional who has experience in treating gambling addiction.


The consequences of untreated gambling addiction can be severe. Individuals who suffer from this disorder are at risk of experiencing financial problems, relationship problems, legal problems, and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. In some cases, at it’s worst, this condition can even lead to suicide.

Furthermore, the impact can extend beyond the individual to their family members and loved ones. Family members may experience emotional and financial stress as a result of their loved one’s addiction, and may also be at risk of developing their own mental health issues.

Fortunately, treatment is available and effective. With the right treatment, individuals with gambling addiction can overcome their addiction and rebuild their lives. It is important to seek help as soon as possible if you or a loved one is struggling.

In conclusion, this is a serious condition that requires professional treatment. With the right treatment, however, individuals with problem gambling habits can overcome their struggles and regain control of their lives. Treatment options include therapy, medication, support groups, and inpatient treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling, it is important to seek help from a qualified healthcare professional.

Self-Exclusion Lists

Self-exclusion is the term used to describe the process of an individual requesting to be legally excluded from a particular activity. In the context of gambling, self-exclusion involves removing oneself from eligibility to gamble within a specific state.

State gaming enforcement maintains self-exclusion lists to ensure that gambling operators do not accept bets from individuals who would otherwise be eligible to gamble. By enrolling in self-exclusion programs, gamblers can prevent themselves from betting at online or land-based casinos or sportsbooks.

Problem Gambling Resources