image symbolizing the question, "What is pathological gambling?"

What Is Pathological Gambling?

Gambling has been a popular pastime for many people around the world, and it can be fun and exciting. However, for some people, gambling can turn into a serious problem that affects their lives in various ways. Let’s consider what pathological gambling is, its signs, its effects on family, different therapies used in treating gambling addiction, and ways to get help. For more about gambling addiction treatment, call us today at 844.875.5609.

What Is Pathological Gambling?

Pathological gambling, also referred to as gambling disorder, is a debilitating addiction characterized by the uncontrollable urge to gamble, irrespective of the adverse repercussions it may entail. It is a grave condition that can potentially result in severe financial distress, strained relationships, and profound mental health challenges if not properly addressed and treated.

Individuals afflicted with pathological gambling often experience an overpowering compulsion to engage in gambling activities, persisting even in dire financial circumstances where they can ill afford to bear further monetary losses. The detrimental impact of this disorder underscores the critical need for comprehensive intervention and support to alleviate its profound consequences on individuals and their surroundings.

Signs of Pathological Gambling

Some of the common signs of pathological gambling include difficulty controlling gambling behavior, such as finding it increasingly challenging to resist the urge to gamble. Individuals may also engage in deceptive behavior, such as lying about their gambling activities to loved ones or friends. Additionally, chasing losses becomes a prominent feature, where gamblers continue to place bets in an attempt to recoup previous losses.

Financial consequences often arise, with individuals resorting to borrowing money or accumulating debt to fuel their gambling habits. This can lead to neglecting responsibilities, such as experiencing a decline in work productivity or prioritizing gambling over family commitments. The impact of gambling disorder extends beyond the realm of finances, as individuals may also endure mood swings, heightened anxiety, and even symptoms of depression.

It is crucial to recognize these signs and seek appropriate support and treatment for individuals struggling with a gambling disorder.

Gambling and Its Devastating Effects on Family

Pathological gambling not only affects the individual, but it can also have a devastating impact on family members. It can lead to severe financial difficulties, causing the family to struggle with mounting debts, unpaid bills, and the loss of savings.

Arguments within the family can become more frequent and intense, as trust is broken and resentment builds up. In some cases, the strain of the gambling addiction can become so overwhelming that it leads to the breakdown of the family unit, resulting in separation or divorce.

Moreover, the emotional toll on family members is immense, with feelings of betrayal, anger, and sadness becoming pervasive. The constant worry and stress surrounding the gambler’s behavior can lead to emotional distress, sleep disturbances, and deteriorating mental health.

If all of this is happening, help is clearly needed. Professional treatment is usually the key to a successful recovery.

What Is a Gambling Addiction Treatment Program?

A gambling addiction treatment program is a specialized program that offers various therapies to help individuals overcome pathological gambling. The goal of these programs is to help individuals understand their gambling behavior, develop coping mechanisms, and learn how to make healthier choices.

Therapies Used in a Gambling Addiction Treatment Program

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors related to gambling.

Motivational Interviewing

This therapy helps individuals recognize the reasons behind their gambling behavior and helps them build motivation to change their behavior.

Family Therapy

This therapy involves the gambler and their family members working on repairing relationships and addressing the negative impact of gambling on the family.

Self-Help Groups

Self-help groups like Gamblers Anonymous provide a supportive environment for individuals to share their experiences, receive support, and learn from others who have overcome gambling addiction.


Sometimes medication can be used in conjunction with therapy to help individuals manage their cravings and reduce the urge to gamble.

Get Help Today From Promises Behavioral Health

If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction, there is hope. Promises Behavioral Health offers specialized gambling addiction treatment programs that provide evidence-based therapies and support. Call us today at 844.875.5609 or use the Promises online contact form to learn more and take the first step toward recovery.

Scroll to Top