Gambling Addiction Facts

Gambling addiction is an urge to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. A gambling addiction is often defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behavior. Our focus at COPAC is on healing the whole person, not just the problem. Call 844-242-0036.

Severe compulsive gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria.

Common Behaviors:

There are a variety of common behaviors that are reliable signs of the presence of a compulsive gambling addiction, including preoccupation, tolerance, withdrawal, chasing, lying, loss of control, illegal acts, taking risks or sabotaging an important relationship or one’s job, and a chronic request to be bailed out.

Preoccupation means an individual has frequent thoughts about gambling experiences, whether past, future, or fantasy. Tolerance, as with drug tolerance, requires larger or more frequent wagers to experience the same “rush”. Withdrawal expresses itself as a restlessness or irritability associated with attempts to cease or reduce gambling. Escape is when an individual gambles to improve mood or escape problems. Chasing is when an individual tries to win back gambling losses with more gambling. Lying is when the subject tries to hide the extent of his or her gambling by lying to family, friends, or therapists.

Loss of control is defined as when the person has unsuccessfully attempted to reduce gambling. Illegal acts are when the person has broken the law in order to obtain gambling money or recover gambling losses. This may include acts of theft, embezzlement, fraud, or forgery. Risking a significant relationship is when the person gambles despite risking or losing a relationship, job, or other significant opportunity.

Bailout is when the person turns to family, friends, or another third party for financial assistance as a result of gambling (this is often a repeated behavior).

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