Diagnosing Addiction

Gambling Addiction has a set of criteria used by treatment professionals to identify problems cause by compulsive gambling, as well as identify appropriate ways to begin treatment.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines Gambling Disorder as a Non-Substance based Addictive Disorder. The following 9 criteria are used by mental health professionals to identify the presence of gambling as a clinical issue:

  1. Tolerance: Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
  2. Withdrawal: Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
  3. Relapse: Has repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
  4. Preoccupation: Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble).
  5. Escape: Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed).
  6. Chasing: After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even.
  7. Lying to Loved Ones: Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
  8. Risking Relationships: Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling.
  9. Bailouts/Relying on Others for Money: Relies on others to provide money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling.

If you have experienced more than one of these in the past 12 months, it may be helpful to call the HelpLine to receive resources and additional information.

Thankfully, help is available and gambling addiction can be treated if recognized. If you need assistance, contact our 24 hour, confidential Helpline 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848) for resources and support.

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