Problem Gambling Guide

Also known as gambling addiction or Ludomania, Problem Gambling is the desire to gamble nonstop, regardless of the negative ramifications. Technically, it is that longing to keep on gambling without wanting to stop. The main definition of problem gambling lies on the possible harm that is ahead of the gambler, rather than their behaviors.

When the problem gambling is extreme, it is often identified as a clinical, pathological gambling. Nonetheless, the gambler must be categorized by certain criteria and meet some conditions. This type of gambling can cause a negative effect on the family and the social life of the gambler.

The American Psychiatrist Association considered the pathological gambling as an instinct control deficiency, rather than an addiction. The psychiatrists believe that the gambler with this condition is unable to control their impulses or instinct. Even when the situation seems risky, they still want to gamble.

How It Relates To Other Problems

It has been studied that problem gambling is closely linked to the substance use deficiency. It is considered similar to other disorders of impulse control, such as kleptomania.

Also, a study has shown that the problem gamblers are more likely to have other psychiatric issues, like the following;

  • Personality disorders
  • Anxiety and mood disorders
  • Substance use disorders.

Mostly, it will have more comparisons with the substance use disorder. In most cases, the pathological gamblers will end up abusing alcohol and other lethal drugs. There is a rapid advancement from initial to chaotic behaviors in women, more than men.

A report from Britain indicates that the problem gambler’s families will mostly experience domestic violence, like child abuse. There is also a similar report on substance abuse and alcoholism.

If the gambler is not treated when they are in the problematic phase, they might think of suicide. The condition is closely associated with suicidal thoughts.

Most problem gamblers have attempted to commit suicide at some point. Probably, they never want to lose in the gambling process, which is why they are always furious when they can’t win.

How To Determine If You Might Have a Problem?

The South Oaks Gambling Screen, SOGS, is an instrument that was established by Blume and Lesieur in 1987. It is used to screen the possible problem gambling characters in a gambler. Recently, the use of this machine was rejected. It was believed to exaggerate the symptoms of the condition.

The American Psychiatric Association developed a newer and more accurate criteria. This entails ten diagnostic procedures or criteria, like the NODS, National Opinion Research Center DSM Screen for Gambling Problem.

Before a gambler is diagnosed for the condition, they must have at least symptoms within twelve months. Here are the common symptoms of the problem gambling;
• The individual is irritable or restless when they try to stop or reduce gambling.

• The gambler always wants to gamble with a lot of money, just for enjoyment.

• They have attempted to control or stop to gamble severally but have been unsuccessful.

• The individual is mostly troubled with gambling. They could think about a past gambling event or plan for the next gambling and how they will handle it.

• They gamble when they are depressed, anxious or guilty. To them, gambling is the haven for relaxation and fun.

• They count on others to help them out financially, due to gambling.

• They lie to cover up their involvement with gambling.

• When they lost in gambling, they will always go back to chase their losses.

• They have lost or jeopardized an important relationship, education, job opportunity, as a result of gambling.

So if the individual has shown any four of the above symptoms, they will qualify for a diagnosis.

Possible Treatments 

There are some treatments that can be applied to treat the problem gambling. Some of the possible treatments include the following;
• Step-by-step programs 

These programs are designed for generic, and gambling, and they are meant to take the individual through the healing process. The programs also help to improve the mental health of the individual. The programs also entail clinical interventions, applied educational practices, which are used as patient-centered tools.

• Peer support

Peer support is becoming more popular in the recent times. Since there is a development in the online gambling, more gamblers are suffering from the problem gambling. Luckily enough, there are several peer-support groups online, which help in the recovery process.

Motivational interviewing 

This is a treatment that aims at promoting the willingness to change via the thinking and determining ambivalent feelings. In the interview, the interviewer will work out the avoidance of arguments, aggressive confrontation, blaming, or direct persuasion.


The self-help strategies have shown positive effects to the problem gamblers. This one will help them overcome the problem out of their will, rather than being pushed to change.

Where To Seek Help?

Some organizations are specially formed to help the problem gamblers overcome their disorders. Here is a look at the official institutions that can help the problem gamblers, with regard to their countries;

United States

In the US, several organizations assist the problem gamblers. Nonetheless, the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling,, is one of the best. The site will offer you a quiz that you can determine if you are a problem gambler.

There is a dedicated page that contains the relevant content about the problem gambling. You can also ask any question via an email message. There is a 24-hour helpline that you can call whenever you need their help. What’s more, you can offer your advice on how to overcome the condition.


In Canada, you can rely on Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario, The website is easy to navigate, and you can get help in the shortest time possible.

There’s a section that is meant for the problem gamblers and their families, and then another section talks about the recent news of the condition. There is a free call line that is available at all times, and it is anonymous enough. All they want is to help you overcome your problem, not to know your name.

The UK

You can visit the GamCare,, which is meant specifically for the problem gamblers. It has different ways of offering help to the patients. You can make a call, which is free, chat with the professional staff, or join the forum of other problem gamblers.

All these websites are easy to access, and they have a good reputation. They are also recognized by their respective governments.

International Resources

Other Resources

October 14, 2015 - Offer valid as of date published. T&Cs apply.