Compulsive gambling

Other names: Addiction, gambling, Pathological gambling


Compulsive gambling, also known as gambling disorder, is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the negative impact it has on your life. It can lead to addiction by stimulating the brain's reward system similar to drugs like alcohol. Compulsive gambling can result in chasing bets, hiding behavior, financial problems, and even resorting to theft or fraud.



The exact cause of compulsive gambling is not well understood but may involve biological, genetic, and environmental factors.



Compulsive gambling can lead to relationship problems, financial issues, legal troubles, job loss, substance abuse, mental health disorders, and even suicide.


Make a list of your feelings, triggers for gambling, recent life changes, medications you're taking, and questions for your doctor. Be prepared to discuss your gambling history and readiness for treatment.


To be diagnosed with a gambling disorder, you must meet specific criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). It involves signs like preoccupation with gambling and failed attempts to cut back.


Treatment may include psychotherapy, medications for associated problems like depression or ADHD, and self-help groups like Gamblers Anonymous. Avoiding triggers and seeking help early are crucial in preventing relapse.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies:

There's no proven way to prevent compulsive gambling, but avoiding triggers and seeking help at the first sign of a problem can be beneficial.


Recovery skills include recognizing risky situations, seeking help from family or friends, staying focused on not gambling, and avoiding triggers. Family members can also benefit from counseling.


  1. What is compulsive gambling?

Compulsive gambling is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite its negative consequences.

  1. What are some symptoms of compulsive gambling?

Symptoms include preoccupation with gambling, lying about it, financial problems, and failed attempts to cut back.

  1. What are some risk factors for compulsive gambling?

Risk factors include other mood disorders, age, sex, family history of gambling problems, certain medications, and personality traits.

  1. How is compulsive gambling diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves meeting specific criteria outlined in the DSM related to preoccupation with gambling and unsuccessful attempts to cut back.

  1. What are some complications of compulsive gambling?

Complications include relationship issues, financial problems, legal troubles, substance abuse, mental health disorders, and even suicide.

  1. How can one prepare for a doctor's appointment regarding compulsive gambling?

Make a list of feelings and triggers related to gambling, recent life changes, medications taken, and questions for the doctor.

  1. What are some treatment options for compulsive gambling?

Treatment may involve psychotherapy, medications for associated issues like depression or ADHD, and participation in self-help groups.

  1. Are there lifestyle changes that can help with compulsive gambling?

Avoiding triggers like places where one gambles and seeking help early can be beneficial.

  1. How can family members cope with a loved one's compulsive gambling?

Family members can seek counseling even if the gambler is unwilling to participate in therapy.

  1. Why is early intervention important in treating compulsive gambling?

Early intervention can help prevent the disorder from worsening and reduce the risk of complications such as financial ruin or legal issues.