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Frequently Asked Questions about Compulsive Gambling

I only go on gambling binges periodically. Do I have a problem?

Yes, if your binges exhibit out-of-control behavior. Many compulsive gamblers report that although their gambling urge is sporadic, the intervals between binges are not periods of constructive thinking. Symptoms displayed during these intervals include irritability, frustration, nervousness, indecision and a breakdown in personal relationships.

Is buying lottery tickets or participating in a sports pool considered gambling?

Yes. Gambling is defined as any betting or wagering for self or others, whether for money or not, no matter how slight or insignificant, where the outcome is uncertain or depends upon chance or skill.

Can a compulsive gambler ever gamble normally again?

No. The first bet to a problem gambler is like the first drink to an alcoholic. Sooner or later, she will gamble out of control again. Compulsive gambling, like any other addiction, is marked by numerous failed attempts to engage in behavior in a controlled manner.

Is gambling addictive? How is it related to other addictions?

Yes, gambling can be addictive. Like drinking alcohol, gambling can be a social activity for many, but some people cross the line, never to return again. An estimated five percent of the population are compulsive gamblers. Most experts agree that somewhere between 10 to 15 percent of the people in treatment for substance addictions are also compulsive or pathological gamblers. Also, experts report that anywhere from 47 to 52 percent of the people who are pathological gamblers also have alcohol- and substance-related disorders.

Like alcohol and drug addictions, compulsive gamblers also report a withdrawal syndrome consisting of the following symptoms: restlessness, irritability, insomnia, anorexia, and numerous somatic complaints such as headaches and gastrointestinal upset. In addition, depression symptoms have also been reported upon stopping gambling.

Frequently Asked Questions about Compulsive Gambling
scientific advisory board on 8 Oct 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.