Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling or pathological gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder.The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) describes it as the individual displaying persistent and recurring problematic gambling behaviours that lead to and result in clinically significant impairment or distress.
Compulsive gambling is a progressive addiction that harms every aspect of the gambler’s life.
Compulsive gamblers are unable to control the impulse to gamble, even when they know their gambling is hurting them or their loved ones. Everything and everyone around the gambler are negatively affected. No matter the consequences, gambling is all they can think about and all they want to do. Even when compulsive gamblers know that the odds are against them and they can’t afford to lose, they keep gambling. It does not matter whether they are happy or depressed, broke or flush, well or sick. They just can’t help themselves because gambling is the most important thing in their lives. Additionally, compulsive gamblers may engage in activities that go against their moral standards, e.g. lying, stealing, and embezzling, to feed their addiction.
Compulsive gamblers cannot stop gambling, no matter how much they want to or how hard they try.
Gambling addiction is sometimes referred to as the “hidden illness”. This is due to there being no obvious physical signs or symptoms like there are in drug or alcohol addiction. Problem gamblers typically deny or minimize the problem. They also go to great lengths to hide their gambling.
Gambling addiction is treatable but it is up to the individual to make the decision to get help.
There is hope.
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