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Pathological Gambling

What is ‘Pathological Gambling’ ?

‘Pathological gambling’ is a common term used for compulsive gambling, problem gambling or a gambling addiction. All refer to the same thing – a gambling habit which is out of control and is causing hardship and other issues for the gambler. However, the term ‘pathological’ implies some deeper cause or condition – a physical disorder which causes problem gambling.

‘Pathological Gambling’ Explained

Gambling is a very common pastime for much of the world’s population, and there are entire cities which have built up around the gambling industry. In some countries and territories, gambling is the largest contributor to national GDP and in many countries, gambling has been decriminalised and is now regulated and taxed by the state – for the safety of players and for the wellbeing of the economy.

However, gambling can become a problem for some players if their urge to gamble becomes too strong, if they start spending more than they can afford or if they are lying, cheating and stealing to finance their gambling habits. Problem gambling can have a number of different causes, from chasing losses to an innate self-destructive desire. Gambling commissions and casinos themselves usually operate by some form of ‘responsible gaming’ policy and will offer help and support to problem gamblers who feel they have lost control of their playing.

‘Pathological gambling’ is a form of clinical gambling addiction in which the sufferer is compelled to keep gambling and is out of control in their actions to fund gambling binges. The addiction is often classed by psychiatrists as a legitimate disorder which is similar in nature to kleptomania – the gambler is aware that their behaviour is wrong but they are hooked on the feeling that gambling temporarily brings. It is also similar to the patterns of substance abuse in this sense.