Consequences of pathological gambling

Consequences of pathological gambling.

Some people who are pathologic gamblers are seeking the mood alteration associated with gambling— specifically the excitement and energy that they find in the activity— more than the money involved. But gambling patterns among men and women have become increasingly similar. Women who gamble typically start later in life and may become addicted more quickly.

Compulsive gambling is more common in men than women. Symptoms Signs and symptoms of compulsive gambling gambling disorder include: Print Overview Compulsive gambling, also called gambling disorder, is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it consequences of pathological gambling on your life.


Some studies have found interesting differences between compulsive gamblers and the general population on the biological level, but none that are thought to be an actual cause of pathological gambling. The gambler's admission that she or he does have a gambling problem and a willingness to go to meetings are considered the first steps in treating pathological gambling disorder.

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If your family members or friends have a gambling problem, the chances are greater that you will, too. Being preoccupied with gambling, such as constantly planning how to get more gambling money Needing to gamble with increasing amounts of money to get the same thrill Trying to control, cut back or stop gambling, without success Feeling restless or irritable when you try to cut down on gambling Gambling to escape problems or relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression Trying to get back lost money by gambling more chasing losses Lying to family members or others to hide the extent of your gambling Jeopardizing or losing important relationships, a job, or school or work opportunities because of gambling Resorting to theft or fraud to get gambling money Asking others to bail you out of financial trouble because you gambled money away Unlike most casual gamblers who stop when losing or set a loss limit, people with a compulsive gambling problem are compelled to keep playing to recover their money — a pattern that becomes increasingly destructive over time.

Demographics More males than females in the United States are diagnosed with pathological gambling disorder; the sex ratio is thought to be about 2: Risk factors Although most people who play cards or wager never develop a gambling problem, certain factors are consequences of pathological gambling often associated with compulsive gambling: Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry.

Gambling can stimulate the brain's reward system much like drugs or alcohol can, leading to addiction. In other words, the person with the disorder is reinforced by an emotional "high" rather than by the money itself.

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Because denial is almost always a feature of compulsive or addictive behavior, it may be difficult for you to realize that you have a problem. Some gamblers have a "lucky" outfit, item of clothing, or accessory that they wear or take along when gambling; sometimes putting on the outfit or item in question is enough to start the "rush.

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The person may continue to consequences of pathological gambling even after they have developed social, economic, interpersonal, or legal problems as a result of the gambling. Some researchers have found that males diagnosed with pathological gambling disorder were more likely to have Pathological gambling disorder is characterized by uncontrollable gambling well beyond the point of a social or recreational activity, such that the gambling has a major disruptive effect on the gambler's life.

Many people diagnosed with the disorder also have distorted beliefs about money, tending to see it at the same time as the source of all their problems and the answer to all their problems.

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People involved in this program are expected to attend meetings regularly, try to make amends for wrongs that their gambling has caused, and find a sponsor usually of the same sex to help them through the program. People who smoke tobacco or abuse alcohol are more likely to have pathological gambling disorder than people who do not use these substances.

Gamblers Anonymous also expects that people who stop gambling to understand that they probably will never be able to gamble again socially, just as recovering alcoholics cannot drink socially. People who gamble compulsively often have substance abuse problems, personality disorders, depression or anxiety.

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In most cases the disorder develops slowly over a period of years; however, there are cases of patients who gambled socially for decades and then began to gamble compulsively under the impact of a major life stressor, such as divorce or being laid off from work. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Relatively few women, however, are in treatment programs for the disorder, most probably because of the greater social stigma attached to women who gamble. With gambling, the "high" may be stimulated by the social atmosphere or group setting of the casino, race track, or bingo hall as well as by the excitement of risk-taking.