According to California Department of Public health (Office of Problem Gambling, mARCH 2019):
- Over a million Californians suffer from problem gambling behaviors.
- The discovery of a gambling problem can be devastating emotionally as well as financially
- PROBLEM GAMBLING doesn’t just affect the gambler but also affects 8-10 others around them, such as spouses, children, parents, employers and even co-workers
Frequently Asked Questions about Problem/Pathological Gambling
What are the Signs?
Signs that a person may have a problem include difficulty controlling his or her gambling, lying to family, friends and others about how much time and money are spent on gambling, and spending a great deal of time thinking about gambling and planning the next opportunity.
What is pathological gambling?
Pathological gambling is classified as an impulse-control disorder according to the diagnostic manual used by all psychiatrists and psychologists. This means that people with this condition have difficulty controlling their impulses to gamble, even if they do not like to gamble. As a result of this lack of control, the individual experiences numerous difficulties throughout different aspects of their life from financial difficulties to lies causing problems within families. It is also known as compulsive gambling, gambling addiction. Problem gambling is another term used to categorize people who have some problems associated with their gambling but do not yet meet full diagnostic criteria.
How common is pathological gambling?
The prevalence of problem and pathological gambling in the United States has been difficult to determine since many gamblers do not report for help until serious problems arise. Generally, it is believed that about 5% of the adult population is made up of problem and pathological gamblers. About 15% of individuals never gamble, meaning over 10% of people that gamble are at risk of becoming pathological gamblers. These numbers are also expected to rise with the increase in the number of states allowing legal gambling.
In California, according to a statewide survey done in 2005, 1.5% of the state population meet criteria for pathological gambling while another 2% meet criteria for problem gambling . This means that almost 1,000,000 Californians experience significant life problems from their gambling
What are the causes of pathological gambling?
Like other forms of addiction, this answer is not entirely clear. What is known is that there are genetic and biological risk factors that increase a person’s vulnerability to developing gambling. We also knew that certain personality traits, like being impulsive, competitive and driven by instant rewards can also increase the risk. Lastly, there are some social risk factors such as living close to a casino and being surrounded by friends and family that gamble that can also increase the risk of gambling addiction.
What we know for sure is that pathological gambling is not caused by greed, lack of ethics, immoral behaviors or selfish behaviors. This is a psychiatric disease where science is showing more and more that brain functioning in pathological gambling is impaired.
Do you think you have problems with gambling? Do you know someone who may be affected by gambling problems?
Help is available…..
You may qualify for free limited treatment. Call me for more information or to set up an appointment.
- Information and Resources
- California Office of Problem Gambling
Text Support to 53342
Chat at 800gambler.chat
- National Council on Gambling Problems (https://www.ncpgambling.org/ )
- Financial Resources