Gambling is more accessible than ever. With more and more states allowing casinos – and more and more gambling opportunities on the internet – it’s more important than ever to recognize the signs and symptoms of gambling addictions.
What Is Gambling Disorder?
Gambling disorder, also known as gambling addiction or compulsive gambling, is a behavioral health disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to gamble, even when the net effect of this gambling is harmful. As an example, an adult with a gambling disorder may skip work to gamble, ignore loved ones or go broke. Adolescents with gambling disorder might skip school, neglect homework or even resort to theft.
Not everyone who gambles will develop gambling addictions, much like how not everyone who drinks will develop alcoholism. Researchers aren’t quite sure why some people are more susceptible to gambling disorder than others, although they have found that people with gambling addiction often have other behavior or mood disorders including depression, ADHD and substance addiction.
Symptoms of Gambling Disorder
Compulsive gambling often emerges during adolescence, making it important for adults and teens alike to recognize the signs and symptoms.
Symptoms of gambling addictions include:
- Lying about gambling frequency
- Failing to cut back on gambling
- Gambling despite having no money
- Worried friends and family members
- Obsessing over gambling
- Feeling guilty or remorseful after gambling
- Skipping school or work to gamble
People with gambling disorder don’t necessarily gamble every day – in fact, a problem gambler may gamble frequently or infrequently. What distinguishes a healthy gambler from a problem gambler is whether or not gambling negatively impacts his or her life.