Is Gambling a Mental Illness?

What is a mental illness?

Mental illness, also known as a mental disorder, is a medical condition that affects an individual’s thinking, mood, behavior, or overall functioning. A combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors causes mental illnesses.

Gambling, in itself, is not a mental illness. However, it can be a symptom or behavior associated with some mental illnesses. Studies have shown that individuals with certain mental conditions, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and ADHD, are likelier to develop a gambling addiction. This is because gambling can temporarily relieve their symptoms, and they may become dependent on the activity to feel better.

Gambling addiction

Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling or gambling disorder, is a serious mental health condition affecting millions worldwide. Individuals with a gambling addiction cannot control their urge to gamble, even when it causes significant problems, such as financial loss, relationship breakdowns, and emotional distress.

Signs and symptoms of gambling addiction

Some common signs and symptoms of gambling addiction include:

  • Spending more money than intended on gambling
  • Feeling the need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement
  • Repeatedly trying to quit or cut back on gambling without success
  • Preoccupation with gambling, such as constantly thinking about past gambling experiences or planning the next gambling session
  • Neglecting personal and professional responsibilities, such as work, family, and social life, due to gambling
  • Engaging in risky behaviors, such as borrowing money or committing fraud, to fund gambling
  • Feeling irritable or restless when trying to reduce or stop gambling
  • Concealing or lying about gambling behavior from others

Fortunately, gambling addiction is treatable, and recovery is possible. Treatment options for gambling addiction may include counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication, support groups, and self-help strategies. It is essential to seek professional help if you or a loved one is struggling with a gambling addiction.

Contact for help if you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling addiction. Free resources, and confidential support. Do not hesitate to seek help.  Remember, gambling addiction is a mental health condition that requires professional treatment, and recovery is possible.

Medically Reviewed By:

Robert Gerchalk

Robert is our health care professional reviewer of this website. He worked for many years in mental health and substance abuse facilities in Florida, as well as in home health (medical and psychiatric), and took care of people with medical and addictions problems at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He has a nursing and business/technology degrees from The Johns Hopkins University.

About Us

Our goal is to raise awareness for gambling addiction. As recovering gambling addicts ourselves we know how hard it is to find reliable, and free resources to help yourself or a loved one. This website does just that. If you want to talk, getting help for gambling addiction is only a phone call away. Our free hotline is available 24/7.

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