This article is intended to be used by the general public for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a reference for educational research papers, nor is it a reflection of the services available through our Rehab Program in Thailand.
Gambling addiction has another, very appropriate name: “The Secret Addiction”. Reasons will be explained and then cite 6 reasons which are understood to increase a person’s chances of becoming a compulsive gambler.
The secret addiction:
Compulsive gambling is known as the secret addiction. This is a very apt name indeed.
Those addicted to drugs show many outward signs when they are high, those with alcoholism issues show similar traits with the smell of alcohol often very noticeable.
Gambling addicts show no outward signs although physically and mentally they are tearing themselves apart.
Because this addiction is not immediately visible it often goes unnoticed by others. This leads to a continuation of gambling with problems mounting the longer a compulsive gambler maintains denial and therefore refuses to seek help.
What causes a person to gamble compulsively?
This is another huge problem. What allows one person to have the occasional flutter and walk away; win, lose or draw even, and why another person simply cannot resist the urge to gamble no matter what the consequences is not fully understood.
Many addiction specialists believe that compulsive gambling may result from a combination of factors. These are:
Risk factors associated with compulsive gambling:
The following 6 risk factors are associated with compulsive gambling. It is important to note that a person does not need to suffer from all of these, but individual factors or combinations of them appear to increase the risk in terms of a person being unable to control their compulsion to gamble.
Disorders – Mental health: Studies have shown that compulsive gamblers often suffer from problems relating to substance abuse and/or personality disorders. Other illnesses such as depression or anxiety are present, but in many cases diagnosis has not been confirmed.
There is also a belief that gambling addiction may be associated with disorders such as bipolar, obsessive-compulsive (OCD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD).
Gender: As may be expected, compulsive gambling is dominated by men, but the number of women addicted to gambling is increasing. It is also known that women have this problem later in their lives than men and that they also become addicted more rapidly.
Age: There is a wide span in terms of age. From early 20’s to middle age is most common. Those who begin gambling in their teenage years stand a greater chance of falling foul of addiction later in life.
Influence of others: If close friends or another family member has a gambling problem this increases a person’s chances of getting hooked too.
Personality characteristics: Those who are workaholics, impulsive, highly competitive, become restless or bored easily may be more at risk of compulsive gambling than others.
Medication – Rare cases: Anyone suffering from Parkinson’s disease or a syndrome known as “restless legs” are often prescribed medication known as dopamine agonists. These drugs have a rare side effect which is believed to result in compulsive behaviours.
Whatever the cause PLEASE seek help:
If gambling currently has the better of you, it will not get better by itself!
Anyone who cannot resist gambling must seek help before it ruins them financially and potentially takes a huge toll on their health.