Gambling Disorder – How to Recognize the Signs of a Gambling Disorder


Gambling involves risking something of value on an event that is purely based on chance. It can affect your health, relationships and performance at work or school. It can also lead to serious debt or even homelessness.

Many people with gambling problems have coping reasons, like to forget their worries or to feel more confident. It’s important to recognize these coping reasons and seek help from a professional.

Biological factors

Gambling has become a popular pastime, but it can lead to financial loss and psychological hardship. It can also cause people to become addicted. Biological factors can influence gambling behavior, such as an underactive brain reward system and a tendency to take risks. Some cultures also encourage gambling, making it harder to recognize a problem.

In a new study, Evan Huggett (PhDPsych’21) and Evan Winiger (PhDPsych’21) examined the heritability of pathological gambling by using behavioral genetics to analyze twin and sibling data. Their results revealed that the heritability of gambling is higher in males than females. They also found that sex moderates the effect of genetics on gambling frequency.

The researchers examined the correlation indices of identical (monozygotic; MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins on the diagnostic questionnaire for pathological gambling. They found that the non-protective allele variants of certain genes are associated with higher severity of GD. These allele variants are linked to chemical messengers that regulate the brain’s reward system and impulsivity.

Social factors

Social factors can affect gambling behavior in several ways. They can increase the likelihood of gambling or decrease the risk. They can also affect the severity of the gambling behavior. These factors include personality traits such as impulsivity and sensation seeking. Sensation seeking is a trait that involves thrill and adventure-seeking, risk taking, and disinhibition. It is associated with both pathological and non-pathological gambling.

Gambling has negative impacts on society and the economy, including a decrease in social capital, increased crime, higher prices for housing and goods, and an economic burden resulting from bankruptcy and bad debts. These costs are especially high for the low-income community.

Costs and benefits can be analyzed at personal, interpersonal, and community/societal levels. Individual impacts induce effects at a personal level to gamblers, while external impacts influence interpersonal and community/societal levels and concern others who do not gamble. In the latter case, this can include family members, employers and customers.


Despite the fact that it’s not as recognized or understood as other addictions, gambling disorder is real and can have devastating consequences on an individual’s life. It’s important to recognize the signs of a gambling addiction and get treatment right away. The first step is admitting that you have a problem. This can be difficult, especially if your gambling has cost you money or caused strained or broken relationships.

Other risk factors for gambling disorder include a family history of addiction, mental health conditions like depression, and personality traits. People with antisocial personality disorder are particularly susceptible to gambling problems. They tend to act impulsively and often disregard the rights of others.

A combination of therapy techniques, such as behavior therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), is used to treat gambling disorders. These treatments can help you change the way you think about gambling and prevent relapse. Many patients also have a coexisting substance use disorder and dual diagnosis treatment is needed to effectively address both issues.


In the United States, gambling is regulated on a state and federal level. State laws may prohibit certain forms of gambling, and Federal law trumps state laws in instances where the two conflict. State laws and regulations vary widely, but they are aimed at combating criminal activity related to gambling, such as money laundering, organized crime, and public corruption.

Legal definitions of gambling may differ from state to state, but generally a person engages in gambling if they stake something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under their control or influence. The legal definition of gambling excludes bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts, such as the purchase or sale at a future date of securities or commodities, and contracts of indemnity or guaranty and life, health or accident insurance.

Despite the popularity of games such as betting pools, fantasy football leagues, and skill-gambling machines, most gambling activities are illegal in the United States. Many of these activities have been used to launder billions in illegal profits.