Pathological Gambling: Signs and Treatment



Placing your bets on games and matches can be fun. Especially when you’re winning. However, “betting the farm” can actually be a serious problem to some people, to the dismay and grief of their families.

Let’s take a look at what pathological gambling is and if there’s any hope for pathological gamblers.

What is Pathological Gambling?

Pathological gambling comes in many names: gambling addiction, gambling disorder, compulsive gambling, or problem gambling. One this is for sure: these terms descript a person’s maladaptive patterns throughout their gambling behaviors, which persists and continues despite negative consequences.

Pathological gambling is characterized by the following:

  • Excessive preoccupation with gambling
  • Difficulty controlling gambling behavior
  • Repeated, unsuccessful efforts to stop gambling
  • Ending up betting more or gambling for longer that initially planned
  • Continued gambling despite negative consequences such as disruption of job, family life, relationships
  • Lying about the extent of gambling
  • Financial problems due to gambling, even lying or stealing to continue and fund gambling
  • Chasing losses like winning the big pot can put their life back in order

Those with problematic gambling behavior fails to recognize that their behavior puts so many things in their lives at risk. They can risk losing more than just money, which they associate with positive things like comfort, freedom, security, and power. However, they don’t know that the odds are stacked against them and they may also lose more than they think they are betting for.

Treatment for Pathological Gambling

Overcoming pathological gambling is never easy. Avoiding gambling is only the first step. The hardest part is in staying that way.

However, it’s important to understand that seeking help is not a sign of weakness. At Bridges of Hope, we have helped and treated many people who had gambling addictions. We understand that every gambler is unique and so we develop a tailored treatment program to address their needs and situation.

Do you know someone who is addicted to gambling? Have you told them to try seeking help?


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