Compulsive gambling, also called gambling disorder, is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life. Gambling means that you’re willing to risk something you value in the hope of getting something of even greater value.
The Mayo Clinic reports that gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs such as alcohol can, leading to addiction. If you’re prone to compulsive gambling, you may continually chase bets, hide your behavior, deplete savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud to support your addiction.
Compulsive gambling is a serious condition that can destroy lives. Although treating compulsive gambling can be challenging, many compulsive gamblers have found help through professional treatment.
Signs and symptoms of compulsive (pathologic) gambling include:
- Gaining a thrill from taking big gambling risks
- Taking increasingly bigger gambling risks
- Preoccupation with gambling
- Reliving past gambling experiences
- Gambling as a way to escape problems or feelings of helplessness, guilt or depression
- Taking time from work or family life to gamble
- Concealing or lying about gambling
- Feeling guilt or remorse after gambling
- Borrowing money or stealing to gamble
- Failed efforts to cut back on gambling
Gambling is out of control if:
- It’s affecting your relationships, finances, or work or school life
- You’re devoting more and more time and energy to gambling
- You’ve unsuccessfully tried to stop or cut back on your gambling
- You try to conceal your gambling from family or others
- You resort to theft or fraud to get gambling money
- You ask others to bail you out of financial woes because you’ve gambled money away
Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.org/