Gambling and Gaming Addictions

September 07, 2020

Humans can become addicted to many different behaviors including  gambling and gaming. Many people are able to gamble and engage in gaming apps with little to no lasting effects. However, others find the thrill of gaming and gambling addictive and return to it time and again despite incurring great costs in terms of their relationships, financial security and general well-being

Bingo, lottery tickets, casino games, online poker, going to the racetrack and even engaging in online gaming apps are all examples of this type of addictive behavior. Clearly, not everyone who gambles or games becomes  addicted.  There  is  no  easy  formula for determining who develops an addiction to gambling or gaming.  Studies have indicated, however, that it is a combination of environmental, genetic, behavioral and biological factors.


As  outlined  in  The  Diagnostic  and  Statistical Manual  of  Mental  Disorders  (5th  ed.;  DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), Gambling Disorder is similar to substance-related disorders in nature, presentation and treatment. While the following list of signs indicates the potential for gambling problems consider its application to issues associated with excessive computer gaming as well:

  • Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement
  • Restlessness or irritability when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
  • Repeated  unsuccessful  efforts  to  control gambling
  • Often preoccupied with gambling
  • Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed)
  • After losing money gambling, often returns to gamble again as a way to recover losses
  • Lies to conceal the extent of gambling
  • Jeopardized  or lost  a  relationship,  job,  or educational  or  career  opportunity  due  to gambling
  • Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate  financial  situations  caused  by gambling


Gambling and gaming addictions are more prevalent than ever before because people have constant access to the thrill of the behavior through the Internet. Like any  addiction,  compulsive  gambling  and gaming affects all  aspects  of  life  including  physical  health, relationships, finances and well-being.


If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling or excessive gaming consider the following:

✓ Schedule an appointment for a check-up with your primary care provider.

✓ Alternatively meet with a counselor or other provider experienced in treating addictions.

✓ Complete an honest appraisal of your gambling or gaming behavior.

✓  Identify  the  triggers  in  your  life  that compel you to pursue gambling or gaming

✓ Make a list of the current stressors in your life.

✓ Consider and write down questions you might have for your care provider.

✓  Share the information you have compiled with your care provider.

✓ Inquire as to what treatment options are available.

✓  Inquire about available community resources and support groups.


Determination and will power are often not powerful enough to overcome the gambling and gaming  impulse,  and  you  are  not  alone  in  this struggle. Help is available, along with the hope of a better life. Consider reaching out to your health care provider and engaging other counseling resources for guidance on next steps.

Want to talk to a counselor today about this? 

Call us at 800-453-7733 and ask for your “Free 15 Minute Phone Consultation" with one of our licensed counselors. We’ll listen, answer questions you may have, and help you plan next steps.

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