Gambling and Substance Abuse: The Connection

Gambling is something that many people enjoy without any problems. Some people lose control over their gambling, which can lead to an addiction. Gambling addiction can lead to problems with alcohol and drugs. Without professional help, neither addiction is easy to overcome.

What is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling is the act of placing your money at risk in order to win more. Gambling is a common practice in many cultures. This behavior is not usually considered a problem. Some people may develop a gambling addiction.

Gambling disorder, also known as pathological gambling, is a behavior pattern that has a severe impact on a person's personal, family, and professional lives. Gambling disorder is when someone feels the need to gamble or take greater risks in order to reverse a loss. This is often called "chasing one’s losses."2

Gambling addiction is thought to affect between 0.2% and 0.3%. Gambling addiction can start in adolescence, young adulthood, or even later in life. Gambling disorders tend to develop over a period of time. Gambling disorder usually develops over time. Most people with it gradually increase the amount and frequency of their wagers.

Gambling disorders are more common in people who have a gambling disorder earlier in their lives. Gambling disorders in women are more common than those in men.