Is gambling an addiction?
No, gambling in not necessarily an addiction. By definition, gambling is an activity where you wager money and/or risk loss or injury in the hope of gaining financial or material assets. Gambling is usually characterized by both success and loss as the results of a combination of skill and chance.
Signs of compulsive gambling
Gambling becomes a problem when you continue to gamble despite negative consequences. Many gamblers go through difficult and even life-threatening experiences before they ask for help. Other types of gamblers experience slow, subtle deterioration. But compulsive gamblers typically always exhibit chronic behavior that escalates. Some of the signs of gambling problems that compulsive gamblers have in common include:
1. Inability to stop or reduce gambling
2. Obsessive or compulsive thinking about about gambling
3. Continued gambling despite negative consequences: loss of job, relationship, or opportunities
4. Increased tolerance; needing larger or more frequent wagers to experience the same “rush”
5. Emotional symptoms of withdrawal when you stop or reduce gambling (irritation, restlessness)
6. Needing to gamble to improve your mood, escape problems, win back losses
7. Breaking the law in order to get gambling money or recover gambling losses (stealing, fraud,)
8. Asking for financial assistance as a result of gambling
9. Denial of a gambling problem or lying to friends or family about behavior
10. Frequent changes of mood
Taken from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders current 2010 diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling.
Are you a gambling addict?
Gamblers Anonymous holds the view that Only you can determine if you are a compulsive gambler, or not. To start to get better, you’ve got to admit that gambling causes growing and continuing problems in your life and that you’re ready to change. Still, you can ask yourself these 20 questions to evaluate gambling addiction.
Do you have a question about gambling addiction?
Leave your questions or comments here. We would like to help refer you to services that can help. Or, if you don’t think gambling should officially be recognized as an addiction, please tell us why. We publish all sides of the issue.