What is a Gambling Problem?
A gambling problem generally has 2 key features. One is impaired control. This means not being able to stick to limits of the amount of money and/or time that is spent gambling. The second feature is that the gambling causes personal emotional, financial, relationship or legal problems (negative life consequences).
Gambling problems not only impact the person who is gambling but also frequently cause distress for family, friends, and co-workers. And a gambling problem can become an addiction.
Did you know:
- One individual who struggles with problems due to gambling negatively affects 7-10 people within their immediate circle.
- Gambling should never be viewed as a financial solution.
- Individuals with substance use and mental health disorders are at a higher risk for having a gambling problem.
- Relationship violence and child abuse are correlated with problem gambling and severely aggravated if substance use is involved.
- 50% of people struggling with problems due to gambling/gambling addiction have had thoughts of suicide.
- Although gambling is illegal for youth under the age of 18, 33% of Maryland high school students gamble. Of that group, 30% will develop a gambling problem.
- Nearly 10% of US Veterans struggle with disordered gambling, a rate two-three times higher than the general population.
- 2% of older adults in Maryland are problem gamblers.
Gambling problems were initially recognized as an impulse control disorder but have recently been reclassified by the American Psychiatric Association as an addiction.
While gambling is a form of entertainment for most people, for others it is a devastating medical condition. Most people are unaware of the dangers of problem gambling or that it is a treatable medical condition. Certain things may make people more susceptible such as financial distress, substance abuse, mental health problems, or peer pressure.