Compulsive gambling is a disorder in which a person cannot control his or her urge to gamble. Gambling is any betting or wagering carried out for oneself or others. Gambling depends on skill or chance. It may or may not involve money. Compulsive gambling disorder is an impulse control disorder.
Gambling is thought to be a disorder when a person begins to do it on a regular basis. The person keeps gambling even though it has negative social, financial, interpersonal, or emotional results. He or she may bet on such things as: dog racescard gamesslotsdicesports eventslotteriesbingothe stock market
It involves any situation that provides the gambler with action and excitement.
A person is a compulsive gambler if he or she has five or more of the following signs and symptoms: after losing money, often returns another day to get evencommits illegal acts, such as stealing, to finance gamblinggambles as a way to escape from problemsjeopardizes or loses an important relationship or job due to gamblinglies to family members to conceal the extent of involvement with gamblingseeks greater and greater risks in gambling in a need to feel the excitementis preoccupied with gambling and behaviors linked with gamblingrelies on others to provide money to pay billshas had repeated, unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gamblingis restless or irritable when trying to cut down or stop gambling
A compulsive gambler can be male or female. This condition can affect any age, race, income, or religion. It is more common among people who also have other compulsive or addictive disorders. Depression and other mood disorders are also linked with compulsive gambling.
Legalized gambling is a fast-growing industry in the U.S. People can even gamble easily over the Internet. Older adults are at particularly high risk for compulsive gambling because they have time on their hands and may seek socialization in gambling casinos.
There is no known prevention for compulsive gambling.
Compulsive gambling disorder is diagnosed when a person has five or more of the symptoms listed above. It differs from professional gambling or social gambling. Professional gamblers set risk limits and show self-control. Social gamblers are also able to adhere to limits they set on their gambling.
Compulsive gambling disorder often leads to: isolation from friends and relativeslarge financial debtslegal problemsloss of employmentmarital problemssuicide attempts
In a family where one member has compulsive gambling disorder, financial ruin can result. However, this condition is not contagious per se.
Treatment is often started after a person with compulsive gambling disorder has gotten into legal problems or when family members confront the gambler. Once the person seeks treatment, he or she must stop all forms of gambling. Self-help support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous help people stop gambling.
Some evidence exists that fluvoxamine, a type of antidepressant, is effective in helping a person in treatment abstain from gambling. Treatment of associated disorders, such as depression or alcoholism, may also help.
Side effects depend on the medicines used. They may include drowsiness or allergic reactions.
Relapses are common for compulsive gamblers. During treatment, a financial crisis may occur. Legal problems due to gambling also often begin to develop during this time.
A compulsive gambler may need to remain in therapy or continue with Gamblers Anonymous to prevent relapse. Family counseling may be needed. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare professional.
"PATHOLOGICAL GAMBLING: BASIC, CLINICAL AND SERVICES RESEARCH" [hyperLink url="http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not99-153.html" linkTitle="grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not99-153.html"]grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not99-153.html[/hyperLink]
"Pathological gambling: An addiction embracing the nation" [hyperLink url="http://www.addictionrecov.org/aboutgam.html" linkTitle="www.addictionrecov.org/aboutgam.html"]www.addictionrecov.org/aboutgam.html[/hyperLink]
Hales, Robert, Textbook of Psychiatry, 2nd edition. 1994