Addiction is not restricted to addictive substances such as alcohol or drugs. Behaviors such as gambling can become as chemically addictive as substance dependency.

Signs of a Gambling Addiction

Indications of problem gambling include:

  • Increased frequency of gambling with increased financial risk
  • Preoccupation with gambling
  • Continuing gambling despite serious negative consequences

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual published by the American Psychiatric Association identifies pathological gambling as including five (or more) of the following:

  • Preoccupation with gambling
  • Need to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement
  • Repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling
  • Restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
  • Gambles to escape from problems or relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression
  • After losing money gambling, returning another day to get even (“chasing” losses)
  • Lies to others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling
  • Commits illegal acts such as forgery, fraud, theft or embezzlement to finance gambling
  • Relies on others to provide money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling
Gambling can become as addictive as substance dependency.