Gambling disorder is nothing but compulsive gambling or an uncontrollable urge to engage in gambling regardless of the effects it is having on one’s life. When you gamble, it simply means that you are open to taking the risks of putting something that you valued to gambling, hoping that you will earn even higher returns from it.

Why is gambling disorder dangerous?

Gambling basically stimulates your brain’s reward system just like drugs or alcohol do. This is why it is possible to become addicted to gambling, or suffer from what is popularly called, a gambling disorder. Those who gamble compulsively will chase bets that are likely to lead to big losses; they are tempted to deplete their savings to gamble more, and accumulate a lot of debts in the process. Such people tend to hide their behavior and can even resort to frauds and thefts to continue their addition.

Can gambling disorder be treated?

Compulsive gambling should be looked upon as a serious condition, one that can even destroy lives in the end. Treatments are a challenge but people who have been addicted to gambling have been able to overcome this weakness and addiction through professional help.

What are the common symptoms of a gambling disorder?

  • Staying preoccupied with gambles, and constant planning to earn more and more profits
  • Feeling an urge to gamble with higher amount of bets to enjoy the adrenaline rush
  • Trying to control gambling or stop it altogether but failing to do so
  • Irritability and a feeling of restlessness in trying to reduce gambling
  • Gambling simply to relieve feelings of guilt, anxiety, and helplessness or just to run away from other problems
  • Trying to recover money that has been lost in gambles
  • Hiding one’s behavior and lying to loved ones about engaging in gambling
  • Losing important relationships and damaging relations with family members, colleagues etc because of this ill habit
  • Choosing to do fraud or stealing money to indulge in gambling
  • Requesting for money from others to get out of financial troubles

An individual who suffers from compulsive gambling disorder can go through periods when the symptoms appear to subside slightly. It has been seen that this condition tends to be hereditary in many cases although the environment can play a big role. Symptoms of gambling disorder may be visible as early as teenage years. Causes for this problem cannot be identified accurately; it is most likely a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Risk factors of gambling disorder:

  • Mental health problems: Individuals who are addicted to gambling may engage in substance abuse and suffer from depression, anxiety, or personality disorders.
  • While gambling may be more common amongst young people and middle-aged people, if it develops during adolescence and childhood, the risks of becoming a compulsive gambler are more.
  • Compulsive gambling is found to be more prevalent amongst men than women. But women who take to gambling later in their lives can quickly become addicted to it.
  • When you have friends or family members with a gambling problem, you are at risk of getting it.
  • Medicines used to treat diseases like restless leg syndrome or Parkinson’s have unusual and rare side-effects that are known to trigger compulsive behaviors like gambling.