Is Gambling Addiction Real? Expert Views on Problem Gambling

Is Gambling Addiction Real? Expert Views on Problem Gambling

Is Gambling Addiction Real? Expert Views on Problem Gambling

Clinical Review by:

Clinical Review by:

Clinical Review by:

Published:

Jun 27, 2024

,

06:11 a.m.

ET

Published:

Jun 27, 2024

,

06:11 a.m.

ET

Published:

Jun 27, 2024

,

06:11 a.m.

ET

Simply put, Gambling Addiction is very much real. Problem Gambling impacts the lives of millions in the U.S., and rates are rising every year as betting products become more widely accessible. Today we’ll delve into the key characteristics and history of Gambling Addiction, explore some expert views on the topic, the modern diagnostic criteria and provide an overview of the available treatment options for those who may be struggling.

What is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling Addiction, also known as compulsive gambling or “Gambling Disorder,” is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to gamble despite harmful consequences or a desire to stop. It is classified in the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria as a behavioral addiction that can significantly impact an individual’s life, leading to financial ruin, relationship problems and severe emotional distress.

Key Characteristics of Gambling Addiction:

Today, Gambling Addiction is recognized by a set of criteria outlined in the DSM-5. To be diagnosed, a person must exhibit at least four of the following symptoms within a 12-month period. Lets run through some of the determinant criteria for a Gambling Addiction:

  1. Preoccupation with Gambling: Recurring thoughts about gambling experiences, planning the next venture or thinking of ways to get money to gamble.

  2. Increasing Unit Size: The more the individual bets, the more they need to increase amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement.

  3. Failed Attempts to Stop: Repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling.

  4. Restlessness or Irritability: Becoming restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.

  5. Gambling as an Escape: Gambling to escape from problems or to relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression.

  6. Chasing Losses: After losing money gambling, often returning another day to get even ("chasing" one's losses).

  7. Lying: Lying to family members, therapists or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.

  8. Jeopardizing Relationships and Opportunities: Jeopardizing or losing significant relationships, jobs, educational or career opportunities because of gambling.

  9. Relying on Others for Financial Relief: Needing to rely on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.

History of Gambling Addiction

Gambling has been part of human culture for centuries, but the recognition of Gambling Addiction as a medical condition is relatively recent.

Early Views:

  • Historically, gambling was often seen as a moral failing or a lack of willpower.

  • Early 20th century: Gambling was generally considered a form of entertainment rather than a potential addiction.

Medical Recognition & Evolution:

The medical community’s understanding of Gambling Disorder has evolved significantly over the decades:

  • 1980 (DSM-III): The American Psychiatric Association (APA) first recognized pathological gambling as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

  • 1994 (DSM-IV): Criteria for pathological gambling were revised to align more closely with those for substance dependence.

  • 2013 (DSM-5): gambling disorder was reclassified from an impulse-control disorder to a behavioral addiction, reflecting growing evidence of its similarities to substance use disorders.

Expert views on Gambling Addiction

Experts agree Gambling Addiction is a serious and real disorder, in the same vein as other forms of addiction. Here are some expert perspectives:

  • UCLA Health tells us Gambling Addiction is driven by the same mechanisms that drive other addictions, like drugs, with the activation of the brain’s reward system, releasing dopamine regardless of winning results.

  • A study published by The Decision Lab illustrates how the illusion of control and the gambler’s fallacy (belief that previous events make an outcome more or less likely) play significant roles.

  • Ohio’s Problem Gambling Network reports calls to their hotline are up since legalized online sports betting went live in January, 2023. The accessibility of gambling, including online gambling, has increased the prevalence and visibility of Gambling Addiction.

  • A study conducted by the University of Buffalo details how lower socioeconomic status can increase vulnerability to gambling addiction.

How is Problem Gambling treated?

Behavioral health interventions are viewed as the model form of care for Gambling Addiction, focusing on altering harmful behaviors and thought patterns.

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Helps individuals identify negative thought loops, patterns and change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors related to gambling by implementing problem-solving skills, teaching social skills and teaching relapse prevention.

  • Motivational Interviewing (MI): Enhances motivation to change gambling behaviors by resolving uncertainty or contradictory feelings.

Support groups provide a community of individuals who understand the challenges of Gambling Addiction.

  • Gamblers Anonymous (GA): A 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, offering peer support and a structured approach to recovery.

  • National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG): Provides resources, support hotlines like 1-800-GAMBLER, and referrals to local counseling.

Medications

Certain medications can be helpful in treating gambling addiction, although there are no FDA-approved medications for it yet, as research continues. However, the medications below may aid in treatment of underlying or related behavioral health problems and possibly help with urges to gambling. They do not specifically treat the addiction to gambling, but can be helpful at times, particularly when co-occurring conditions are present.

  1. Antidepressants and Mood Stabilizers: Used to treat underlying mental health conditions that may contribute to compulsive gambling.

  2. Opioid Antagonists: Such as naltrexone, which can reduce the urge to gamble by blocking the brain’s reward pathways.


Resources:

National Library of Medicine

Mass.gov

Investopedia

BrainFacts.org

Mayo Clinic

Simply put, Gambling Addiction is very much real. Problem Gambling impacts the lives of millions in the U.S., and rates are rising every year as betting products become more widely accessible. Today we’ll delve into the key characteristics and history of Gambling Addiction, explore some expert views on the topic, the modern diagnostic criteria and provide an overview of the available treatment options for those who may be struggling.

What is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling Addiction, also known as compulsive gambling or “Gambling Disorder,” is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to gamble despite harmful consequences or a desire to stop. It is classified in the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria as a behavioral addiction that can significantly impact an individual’s life, leading to financial ruin, relationship problems and severe emotional distress.

Key Characteristics of Gambling Addiction:

Today, Gambling Addiction is recognized by a set of criteria outlined in the DSM-5. To be diagnosed, a person must exhibit at least four of the following symptoms within a 12-month period. Lets run through some of the determinant criteria for a Gambling Addiction:

  1. Preoccupation with Gambling: Recurring thoughts about gambling experiences, planning the next venture or thinking of ways to get money to gamble.

  2. Increasing Unit Size: The more the individual bets, the more they need to increase amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement.

  3. Failed Attempts to Stop: Repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling.

  4. Restlessness or Irritability: Becoming restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.

  5. Gambling as an Escape: Gambling to escape from problems or to relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression.

  6. Chasing Losses: After losing money gambling, often returning another day to get even ("chasing" one's losses).

  7. Lying: Lying to family members, therapists or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.

  8. Jeopardizing Relationships and Opportunities: Jeopardizing or losing significant relationships, jobs, educational or career opportunities because of gambling.

  9. Relying on Others for Financial Relief: Needing to rely on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.

History of Gambling Addiction

Gambling has been part of human culture for centuries, but the recognition of Gambling Addiction as a medical condition is relatively recent.

Early Views:

  • Historically, gambling was often seen as a moral failing or a lack of willpower.

  • Early 20th century: Gambling was generally considered a form of entertainment rather than a potential addiction.

Medical Recognition & Evolution:

The medical community’s understanding of Gambling Disorder has evolved significantly over the decades:

  • 1980 (DSM-III): The American Psychiatric Association (APA) first recognized pathological gambling as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

  • 1994 (DSM-IV): Criteria for pathological gambling were revised to align more closely with those for substance dependence.

  • 2013 (DSM-5): gambling disorder was reclassified from an impulse-control disorder to a behavioral addiction, reflecting growing evidence of its similarities to substance use disorders.

Expert views on Gambling Addiction

Experts agree Gambling Addiction is a serious and real disorder, in the same vein as other forms of addiction. Here are some expert perspectives:

  • UCLA Health tells us Gambling Addiction is driven by the same mechanisms that drive other addictions, like drugs, with the activation of the brain’s reward system, releasing dopamine regardless of winning results.

  • A study published by The Decision Lab illustrates how the illusion of control and the gambler’s fallacy (belief that previous events make an outcome more or less likely) play significant roles.

  • Ohio’s Problem Gambling Network reports calls to their hotline are up since legalized online sports betting went live in January, 2023. The accessibility of gambling, including online gambling, has increased the prevalence and visibility of Gambling Addiction.

  • A study conducted by the University of Buffalo details how lower socioeconomic status can increase vulnerability to gambling addiction.

How is Problem Gambling treated?

Behavioral health interventions are viewed as the model form of care for Gambling Addiction, focusing on altering harmful behaviors and thought patterns.

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Helps individuals identify negative thought loops, patterns and change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors related to gambling by implementing problem-solving skills, teaching social skills and teaching relapse prevention.

  • Motivational Interviewing (MI): Enhances motivation to change gambling behaviors by resolving uncertainty or contradictory feelings.

Support groups provide a community of individuals who understand the challenges of Gambling Addiction.

  • Gamblers Anonymous (GA): A 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, offering peer support and a structured approach to recovery.

  • National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG): Provides resources, support hotlines like 1-800-GAMBLER, and referrals to local counseling.

Medications

Certain medications can be helpful in treating gambling addiction, although there are no FDA-approved medications for it yet, as research continues. However, the medications below may aid in treatment of underlying or related behavioral health problems and possibly help with urges to gambling. They do not specifically treat the addiction to gambling, but can be helpful at times, particularly when co-occurring conditions are present.

  1. Antidepressants and Mood Stabilizers: Used to treat underlying mental health conditions that may contribute to compulsive gambling.

  2. Opioid Antagonists: Such as naltrexone, which can reduce the urge to gamble by blocking the brain’s reward pathways.


Resources:

National Library of Medicine

Mass.gov

Investopedia

BrainFacts.org

Mayo Clinic

Simply put, Gambling Addiction is very much real. Problem Gambling impacts the lives of millions in the U.S., and rates are rising every year as betting products become more widely accessible. Today we’ll delve into the key characteristics and history of Gambling Addiction, explore some expert views on the topic, the modern diagnostic criteria and provide an overview of the available treatment options for those who may be struggling.

What is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling Addiction, also known as compulsive gambling or “Gambling Disorder,” is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to gamble despite harmful consequences or a desire to stop. It is classified in the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria as a behavioral addiction that can significantly impact an individual’s life, leading to financial ruin, relationship problems and severe emotional distress.

Key Characteristics of Gambling Addiction:

Today, Gambling Addiction is recognized by a set of criteria outlined in the DSM-5. To be diagnosed, a person must exhibit at least four of the following symptoms within a 12-month period. Lets run through some of the determinant criteria for a Gambling Addiction:

  1. Preoccupation with Gambling: Recurring thoughts about gambling experiences, planning the next venture or thinking of ways to get money to gamble.

  2. Increasing Unit Size: The more the individual bets, the more they need to increase amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement.

  3. Failed Attempts to Stop: Repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling.

  4. Restlessness or Irritability: Becoming restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.

  5. Gambling as an Escape: Gambling to escape from problems or to relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression.

  6. Chasing Losses: After losing money gambling, often returning another day to get even ("chasing" one's losses).

  7. Lying: Lying to family members, therapists or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.

  8. Jeopardizing Relationships and Opportunities: Jeopardizing or losing significant relationships, jobs, educational or career opportunities because of gambling.

  9. Relying on Others for Financial Relief: Needing to rely on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.

History of Gambling Addiction

Gambling has been part of human culture for centuries, but the recognition of Gambling Addiction as a medical condition is relatively recent.

Early Views:

  • Historically, gambling was often seen as a moral failing or a lack of willpower.

  • Early 20th century: Gambling was generally considered a form of entertainment rather than a potential addiction.

Medical Recognition & Evolution:

The medical community’s understanding of Gambling Disorder has evolved significantly over the decades:

  • 1980 (DSM-III): The American Psychiatric Association (APA) first recognized pathological gambling as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

  • 1994 (DSM-IV): Criteria for pathological gambling were revised to align more closely with those for substance dependence.

  • 2013 (DSM-5): gambling disorder was reclassified from an impulse-control disorder to a behavioral addiction, reflecting growing evidence of its similarities to substance use disorders.

Expert views on Gambling Addiction

Experts agree Gambling Addiction is a serious and real disorder, in the same vein as other forms of addiction. Here are some expert perspectives:

  • UCLA Health tells us Gambling Addiction is driven by the same mechanisms that drive other addictions, like drugs, with the activation of the brain’s reward system, releasing dopamine regardless of winning results.

  • A study published by The Decision Lab illustrates how the illusion of control and the gambler’s fallacy (belief that previous events make an outcome more or less likely) play significant roles.

  • Ohio’s Problem Gambling Network reports calls to their hotline are up since legalized online sports betting went live in January, 2023. The accessibility of gambling, including online gambling, has increased the prevalence and visibility of Gambling Addiction.

  • A study conducted by the University of Buffalo details how lower socioeconomic status can increase vulnerability to gambling addiction.

How is Problem Gambling treated?

Behavioral health interventions are viewed as the model form of care for Gambling Addiction, focusing on altering harmful behaviors and thought patterns.

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Helps individuals identify negative thought loops, patterns and change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors related to gambling by implementing problem-solving skills, teaching social skills and teaching relapse prevention.

  • Motivational Interviewing (MI): Enhances motivation to change gambling behaviors by resolving uncertainty or contradictory feelings.

Support groups provide a community of individuals who understand the challenges of Gambling Addiction.

  • Gamblers Anonymous (GA): A 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, offering peer support and a structured approach to recovery.

  • National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG): Provides resources, support hotlines like 1-800-GAMBLER, and referrals to local counseling.

Medications

Certain medications can be helpful in treating gambling addiction, although there are no FDA-approved medications for it yet, as research continues. However, the medications below may aid in treatment of underlying or related behavioral health problems and possibly help with urges to gambling. They do not specifically treat the addiction to gambling, but can be helpful at times, particularly when co-occurring conditions are present.

  1. Antidepressants and Mood Stabilizers: Used to treat underlying mental health conditions that may contribute to compulsive gambling.

  2. Opioid Antagonists: Such as naltrexone, which can reduce the urge to gamble by blocking the brain’s reward pathways.


Resources:

National Library of Medicine

Mass.gov

Investopedia

BrainFacts.org

Mayo Clinic