Gambling addiction, also called pathological or compulsive gambling, is a mental-health problem that is understood to be one of many kinds of impulse-control problems. Compulsive gambling affects 2 to 3% of Americans. Although men tend to develop gambling addiction at a higher rate and at younger ages than women, women now make up more than one-quarter of all compulsive gamblers, and women’s symptoms tend to worsen faster once compulsive gambling develops.
Although pathological gambling may resolve with time on its own in many individuals, the devastating effects it usually has on the person’s financial, family, legal, and mental-health status indicates that treatment should be attempted by anyone who is motivated to get help for this disorder. The treatment of compulsive gambling usually involves more than one approach, including psychotherapy, medication, financial counseling, support groups, 12-step programs, and self-help techniques.
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- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- American Residential Treatment Association
- FIRST STEPS – What to do now that your loved one has been diagnosed with a mental illness.
- DAILY STEPS – Developing a holistic mental health care plan for your loved one.
- DIFFICULT STEPS – Navigating destructive behavior and legal issues with a mentally ill loved one.