Is gambling addiction a mental illness?

Also known as compulsive gambling, gambling disorder or pathological gambling, it is classified by the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as an addictive disorder. People with gambling addiction have many similarities with the traits of alcoholics and drug addicts.

Is gambling addiction a mental illness?

Also known as compulsive gambling, gambling disorder or pathological gambling, it is classified by the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as an addictive disorder. People with gambling addiction have many similarities with the traits of alcoholics and drug addicts. Gambling disorder involves problematic and repeated behavior. Behavior creates problems for the individual, families and society.

Adults and teens with gambling disorder have trouble controlling gambling. They will continue even when it causes major problems. If gambling becomes a problem, it can lead to low self-esteem, stress, anxiety and depression. Excessive gambling can drain finances, ruin personal and professional relationships, and damage the player's mental health.

Gambling Disorder Affects About 1% of Americans Who Can't Stop, Despite Consequences. The game covers more than a trip to the casino or an illegal poker game: it includes lotteries, online poker and sports betting, and there is a debate about whether it also includes daily fantasy sports leagues. Yale Medicine is a leader in research into the treatment of gambling disorders, with one of two Centers of Excellence in gambling research in the country funded by the National Center for Responsible Gambling located in Yale. We take a multidisciplinary approach, including brain imaging, pharmacology and genetics, to research neurobiology and treatment of gambling disorder.

Most adults who play don't have a gambling disorder, but those who do can face very serious problems. An affected player can drain their savings, borrow money or settle retirement accounts to fund their gambling, damage personal relationships (especially with their spouse and family), and have problems at work. People with a gambling disorder often feel guilty or embarrassed and may experience withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness and irritability when trying to stop playing. The Yale Center of Excellence in Gaming Research, one of two such centers in the nation, is supported by the National Center for Responsible Gaming and conducts innovative research on gambling disorder.

The Center, led by Yale Medicine psychiatrist Marc Potenza, MD, PhD, has conducted the first brain imaging studies in people with gambling problems. Functional imaging research, along with volumetric and neurochemical studies, has found that the brain acts similarly during the processing of monetary rewards in people with gambling disorder as it does in people with binge eating disorders, alcohol use, and smoking. Yale Medicine research has made progress in understanding the effects of opioid antagonist drugs, such as naltrexone and nalmefene, on problem gambling (including planning and participating in the largest randomized multicenter clinical trial to date) to investigate pharmacotherapy for the treatment of the game. disorder).

The Yale Center has also investigated gender-related differences in gambling behaviors and disorders. The next thing for the Center is monitoring brain activity during effective behavioral and pharmacological treatments. Many compulsive gamblers know that it is not a harmless hobby. In fact, gambling has serious effects on your mental health.

A study found biopsychosocial effects caused by pathological gambling, leading to direct triggers and worsening depression, anxiety, obsessive disorders and personality disorders. Pathological gambling has been associated with serious mental illness, sometimes as a cause and sometimes as a result of untreated mental illness. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental illnesses associated with gambling addiction. Some hope that the roll of the dice or the spinning of the slot machines will help them to have fun in life and relax.

In reality, over time, depression and anxiety often worsen. Grant revealed that 76 percent of a gambling addiction treatment group suffered from depression. Surprisingly, between 16 and 40 percent of pathological gamblers suffered lifelong anxiety. For some, the pressure becomes too great.

The risk of suicide is higher in players than in non-players. Other mental illnesses associated with gambling include bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Of one study group, 24 percent of pathological gamblers had a lifelong prevalence of bipolar disorder. Twenty percent had symptoms throughout their lives with ADHD prevalence.

Grant emphasizes that when treating people with gambling addiction, all of their disorders must be identified and prioritized for treatment. Through methods such as medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and support, people with gambling addiction can find healing and become lifelong winners. Even when a player loses, his body still produces adrenaline and endorphins, encouraging him to continue playing. By definition, pathological players spend large amounts of time playing, thinking about the game, or covering up the consequences of gambling.

Ironically, many families, especially parents of teenagers, are relieved to find that the behavioral problems were due to gambling and not drug abuse. In order to reduce the morbidity of pathological gambling, from its medical to psychiatric and social consequences, doctors are urged to detect gambling problems in every patient who is presented for treatment. Gambling can stimulate the brain's reward system in the same way as drugs or alcohol, leading to addiction. However, research into the biological components of pathological gambling will lead to a better understanding of the process of addictive behaviors because there are no neurotoxic substances, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, that confuse interpretations or explain abnormal behaviors.

Many pathological players report increased periods of tension before the game that can only be relieved by gambling. Increased accessibility, for example through online gambling, requires greater awareness and appropriate legislation. Fong, MD, author of “The Biopsychosocial Consequences of Pathological Gambling”, gambling aggravates depression, stress-related conditions such as hypertension, insomnia, anxiety disorders and substance use problems. Several cities have completed surveys showing that gambling was a contributing factor to homelessness.

Up to 34% of problem gamblers also experience extreme anxiety in the form of PTSD. . .

Cheyenne Kellenberger
Cheyenne Kellenberger

Award-winning bacon geek. Total pop culture trailblazer. Hardcore bacon buff. Hardcore food evangelist. Proud coffee ninja.