Gambling Addiction Definition
Gambling addiction, also known as pathological gambling or gambling disorder among other names, is an impulse-control disorder that leaves a person unable to control the urge to gamble – even though they know they are harming themselves, their families, and others around them.
Problem gamblers will not be able to resist gambling even when they can see that the odds are stacked against them and even when they cannot afford to lose. Problem gambling is not the same as a strong desire to gamble. The key difference is that pathological gamblers suffer from compromised self-control.
Problem gambling does not mean that you are totally out of control. If that were true, there would be a lot fewer problem gamblers. A gambling addiction is any type of gambling that disrupts and interferes with your life.
In many cases, a gambling addiction is associated with behavioral and mood disorders. People with so-called “addictive personalities” – people who are vulnerable to alcoholism and drug addiction – are more likely to suffer from gambling addiction.
People who gamble compulsively may also suffer from ADHD, substance abuse, stress, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. If you want to stop gambling addiction, you will need to treat these issues as well.
Gambling disorders afflict people on every continent, in every country. The problem is one reason that gambling is heavily regulated in most countries. In the UK, the government gambling commission extends licenses to online casinos and betting sites only if they publish information about problem gambling and links to agencies that address the problem.
Gambling sites around the world let gamblers set limits to cut them off when they have spent a certain amount of money or time gambling. Some let gamblers temporarily lock their accounts so they can’t log on for a period of weeks or months.