Gambling Problems

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for gambling problems, also known as gambling addiction or compulsive gambling. Get help and regain control of your life.

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Definition of Gambling Problem (Gambling Addiction)

It’s all fun and games until you get addicted to it. For most people, they consider gambling as a popular form of entertainment. Whether it be betting on a sporting event, scratch cards, playing a card or two in a casino, these are all considered gambling or a harmless diversion and entertainment from your usual routine. However, the problem arises when the harmless fun turns into an unhealthy obsession which affects your life negatively.

Fact is, gambling addiction can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, suffering from gambling problems can strain your relationships with other people primarily with your family and may even interfere with your day-to-day routine. Some even ruin their lives by running up huge debts or going to the extreme of stealing just to gamble. To further understand this condition, here are a few pieces of information that are worth knowing.

Gambling problems, which is commonly referred to as gambling addiction or compulsive gambling, is a mental health condition which is characterized by a person’s strong impulse or inclination to gamble without control. People who are diagnosed with this usually experience depression, migraine, anxiety, and great distress when they are not able to gamble. Due to it being an impulse-control disorder, patients who have this often feel that they are powerless to stop gambling as they cannot overcome the urge to do so.

What Causes Gambling Problems/Addiction?

Compulsive gambling or gambling addiction are caused by a lot of factors. It being a complex and multifaceted condition means that there are different contributing elements as to why people suffer from it. Gambling problems are in fact associated with the patient’s personal circumstances such as desperation to earn money, the thrill of betting at high stake prices, etc. 

Unfortunately, once it takes hold of someone, it can be very difficult to break the cycle. That’s why to gain more insights as to what pushes people deep into this addiction, listed down are some of the common identifying factors that may influence the development of this condition.

  1. Genetics:

    • Studies have shown that there may be a genetic component to gambling problems. People who have a family history of gambling problems may be more likely to develop a gambling addiction.

  2. Psychological Factors:

    • People with certain psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD may be more likely to develop gambling problems.

  3. Social Factors:

    • Social factors such as peer pressure, availability of gambling opportunities, and cultural norms can contribute to the development of gambling problems.

  4. Environmental Factors:

    • Environmental factors such as a stressful life event or a traumatic experience can trigger the onset of gambling problems.


Signs and Symptoms of a Gambling Problem or Gambling Addiction

Symptoms of compulsive or problem gambling vary from every individual. However, some of the most common signs and symptoms of a gambling problem include the following:

  1. Preoccupation with Gambling:

    • The person may spend a lot of time thinking about gambling and planning their next gambling session.

  2. Inability to Stop Gambling:

    • The person may try to stop gambling but find it difficult to do so.

  3. Increasing Bets:

    • The person may start to bet larger amounts of money in order to achieve the same level of excitement.

  4. Chasing Losses:

    • The person may continue to gamble in order to recoup their losses.

  5. Lying about Gambling:

    • The person may lie to friends and family about their gambling activities.

  6. Relationship Problems:

    • Gambling problems can lead to relationship problems, including conflicts with family members and friends.

Evidence-based treatment for gambling addiction

Treating gambling addiction can be challenging. People who are under this condition often struggle to come to terms that they have an addiction. However, recovery from this disorder relies heavily on the will of the individual which is why it is necessary for them to acknowledge that they have gambling problems. 

Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options available for gambling addictions which include:

  1. Counseling:

    • Counseling can help the person identify and address the underlying causes of their gambling problems.

  2. Support Groups:

    • Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous can provide a supportive environment where the person can share their experiences and receive encouragement from others.

  3. Medications:

    • Medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers may be prescribed to help with underlying psychological conditions that may be contributing to the gambling problems.

  4. Self-Exclusion Programs:

    • Self-exclusion programs allow the person to voluntarily ban themselves from gambling establishments.

  5. Inpatient Treatment:

    • In some cases, inpatient treatment may be necessary to help the person overcome their gambling problems.


Gambling problems can be a serious issue that can have a negative impact on a person's life. It is important to recognize the signs of gambling problems and seek help if necessary. There are a variety of treatment options available for gambling problems, including counseling, support groups, medications, self-exclusion programs, and inpatient treatment. With the right treatment and support, it is possible to overcome gambling problems and regain control of one's life.

We at Serin Center are committed to providing you or your loved ones with the best treatment options for gambling addiction. Through our holistic and innovative approach we aim to help individuals get better and upgrade their lives.


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  • Luke Clark, Bruno Averbeck, Doris Payer, Guillaume Sescousse, Catharine A. Winstanley, Gui Xue. (2013). Pathological Choice: The Neuroscience of Gambling and Gambling Addiction. Journal of Neuroscience, 33 (45) 17617-17623; DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3231-13.2013

Get to experience the power of innovative and effective applied neuroscience therapy for compulsive gambling or gambling addiction. Our team offers advanced treatment programs to upgrade the lives of our patients and help them recover. From kids, adolescents to adults, our program has been proven to be effective. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from gambling problems, feel free to stop by to any of our offices in Peoria, AZ, and Scottsdale, AZ, today for our . Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our neuropsychologists.