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Gambling Addiction & Recovery Information

Compulsive gambling is an urge or addiction to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. A preferred term among many professionals is problem gambling, as few people described by the term experience true compulsions in the clinical sense of the word. Problem gambling often is defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others rather than by the gambler's behavior. Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria.

Extreme cases of problem gambling may cross over into the realm of mental disorders. Pathological gambling was recognized as a psychiatric disorder in the DSM-III, but the criteria were significantly reworked based on large-scale studies and statistical methods for the DSM-IV. As defined by American Psychiatric Association, pathological gambling is an impulse control disorder that is a chronic and progressive mental illness.

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, incidence of problem gambling is 2-3% and pathological gambling is 1% in the United States, though this may vary by country. By contrast, 86% of Americans have gambled in their lives and 60% gamble in a given year.

Available research seems to indicate that problem gambling is an internal tendency, and that problem gamblers will tend to risk money on whatever game is availableŚas opposed to the availability of a particular game inducing problem gambling in otherwise "normal" individuals. However research also indicates that problem gamblers tend to risk money on fast-paced games. Thus a problem gambler is much more likely to lose a lot of money on poker or slot machines, where rounds end quickly and there is a constant temptation to play again or increase bets, as opposed to a state lottery where the gambler must wait until the next drawing to see results.

Health Blogs

Drug abuse can mimic schizophrenia in several ways. Some drugs, like marijuana and PCP, are known to cause psychotic symptoms in some people, especially when high doses of the drugs are consumed. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, long-term drug abuse causes other symptoms that are also found in people with schizophrenia. For ... Read More ┬╗
The latest findings show that teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at greater risk of substance abuse, including smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and using illicit drugs. Adults with ADHD have a higher incidence of cigarette smoking and more problems stopping nicotine use when compared to people who do not have ... Read More ┬╗
Yes and no. There appear to be both reversible brain damage and permanent brain damage from drugs and alcohol. Abusers of these substances tend to have nutritional deficiencies, lacking essential vitamins and minerals to counteract the toxicity to the brain cells from these drugs.

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Community Advisors
Dr. Kimberly Dennis
Psychiatrist,
Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

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