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Problem gambling (ludomania) is an urge to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop.
Problem gambling is oftentimes defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behavior.
Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria. Although the term gambling addiction is common in the recovery movement – pathological gambling is considered to be an impulse control disorder.
It is believed gambling addiction may, in part, be influenced by the gambler’s own erroneous beliefs about the nature of probability. If one approaches gambling with the intent of winning and they initially end up losing, the only way for them to break even or win in the long run is to keep playing.
Pathological gambling is similar to many other impulse control disorders such as kleptomania, pyromania, and tther mental diseases that also exhibit impulse control disorder include such mental disorders as antisocial personality disorder, or schizophrenia. According to evidence from both community- and clinic-based studies, individuals who have pathological gambling are highly likely to exhibit other psychiatric problems at the same time, including; substance abuse, mood and anxiety disorders, or personality disorders.
As debts build up people turn to other sources of money such as , or the sale of drugs. Much of this pressure comes from bookies or loan sharks on whom people rely for gambling capital.
In a 1995 survey of 184 Gamblers Anonymous members in Illinois, Illinois State Professor Henry Lesieur found that 56 percent admitted to some illegal act to obtain money to gamble. Fifty-eight percent admitted they wrote bad checks, while 44 percent said they stole or embezzled money from their employer.
Compulsive gambling can affect personal relationships. In a 1991 study of relationships of American men, it was found that 10% of compulsive gamblers had been married more than twice. Only 2% of men who did not gamble were married more than twice.
Child abuse is also common in homes where pathological gambling is present. Growing up in such a situation can lead to improper emotional development and increased risk of falling prey to problem gambling behavior.
Performing an intervention is too important to risk. If someone you know needs help for a gambling disorder, please don’t hesitate to speak with an intervention specialist today at: 800-980-3927
Listen to Carmine Thompson, BRI II Intervention Specialist on audio.