Gambling Addiction (cont.)
Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is a gambling addiction?
- What are causes and risk factors for gambling addiction?
- What are symptoms and signs of a gambling addiction?
- How is a gambling addiction diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for gambling addiction?
- What are complications and negative effects of gambling addiction?
- Where can people get support for gambling addiction?
- Where can people find more information about gambling addiction?
- Gambling Addiction At A Glance
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
What are causes and risk factors for gambling addiction?
When contemplating why people gamble, it is important to understand that there is usually no one specific cause for pathological gambling. Some potential exceptions include the observation that some individuals who are given medications that treat Parkinson's disease or restless leg syndrome (including pramipexole [Mirapex]) have been observed to develop compulsive gambling. The theory about that connection involves the increased activity of the chemical messenger dopamine in the brain as the culprit. Another example where compulsive gambling may have a single cause is in bipolar disorder since exorbitant spending, including in the form of compulsive gambling, may be a symptom of bipolar disorder.
Much more commonly, gambling addiction, like most other emotional conditions, is understood to be the result of a combination of biological vulnerabilities, ways of thinking and social stressors (biopsychosocial model). There are however, elements that increase the likelihood that the individual will develop a gambling addiction. Risk factors for developing pathological gambling include schizophrenia, mood problems, antisocial personality disorder, and alcohol or cocaine addiction. People who suffer from compulsive gambling have a tendency to be novelty seekers. Individuals who have a low level of serotonin in the brain are also thought to be at higher risk for developing pathological gambling compared to others.
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