Pathological gambling is being unable to resist impulses to gamble, which can lead to severe personal or social consequences.
Pathological gambling usually begins in early adolescence in men, and between ages 20 and 40 in women.
Pathological gambling often involves repetitive behaviors. People with this problem have a hard time resisting or controlling the impulse to gamble. Although it shares features of obsessive compulsive disorder, pathological gambling is likely a different condition.
In people who develop pathological gambling, occasional gambling leads to a gambling habit. Stressful situations can worsen gambling problems
People with pathological gambling often feel ashamed and try to avoid letting other people know about their problem. The American Psychiatric Association defines pathological gambling as having five or more of the following symptoms:
Committing crimes to get money to gamble Feeling restless or irritable when trying to cut back or quit gambling Gambling to escape problems or feelings of sadness or anxiety Gambling larger amounts of money to try to make back past losses Losing a job, relationship, education, or career opportunity due to gambling Lying about the amount of time or money spent gambling Making many unsuccessful attempts to cut back or quit gambling Needing to borrow money due to gambling losses Needing to gamble larger amounts of money in order to feel excitement Spending a lot of time thinking about gambling, such as remembering past experiences or ways to get more money with which to gamble