Signs and Symptoms of Problem Gambling

Problem gambling can be a symptom of other mental disorders, such as substance abuse. It’s a disorder that impairs impulse control and can affect anyone. This article will cover the signs and symptoms of problem gambling, and what you can do if you suspect you may be at risk for developing it. Listed below are some of the most common symptoms. You should consult a mental health professional if you notice any of them. To determine if you may have problem gambling, you should examine your gambling habits.

Problem gambling is an impulse-control disorder

When someone engages in pathological gambling, it often interferes with their job, family life, and relationships. Typically, they lose money, miss days of work, or sell personal belongings to make up for their losses. Problem gamblers are always searching for a “system” to make up for lost money, but these efforts rarely succeed and often lead to further losses. Problem gamblers should seek professional help if their gambling has become a serious problem.

It is similar to substance abuse

Psychiatrists have long considered gambling a disorder, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) now lists gambling disorders alongside other addiction-related concerns. Both gambling and drug addiction involve the release of large amounts of dopamine, the brain chemical associated with pleasure. Problem gamblers lie about their addiction to others, and they increase their wagers without ever being able to stop.

It can happen to anyone

Whether you enjoy gambling for fun, or have a serious problem, the effects of addiction to gambling can be devastating. It starts as a harmless activity that can turn into a habit if left unchecked. The odds of suicide for people with a gambling problem are nearly 15 times higher than for those without a problem. People who engage in excessive gambling may steal money or create large debts. Whether it’s in the form of winning or losing, gambling can affect anyone.

Signs and symptoms

While many people don’t recognize gambling as a problem until it’s too late, there are some clear signs that someone is suffering from an addiction. A gambler may spend hours a day on gambling and forget about other responsibilities. He or she may even have financial disputes with friends and family members. The person’s eating, sleeping, and sex patterns may also change, as well as other physical signs of addiction. Ultimately, the gambler may even steal money from close family members to fund his or her addiction.


Gambling addiction has severe psychological consequences. Symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, depression, and even attempts at suicide. Sadly, the rate of problem gambling has increased around the world in recent years. In 2012, 5.77 million people reported having a gambling disorder. Compulsive gamblers often have underlying problems, such as substance abuse, personality disorders, or depression. Many countries have made gambling addiction a priority in public health programs.