Gambling Disorder

Repeated gambling behavior under the influence of a strong pathological attraction (thirst, craving), despite the negative consequences.

Gambling is known in history for millennia in many cultures and societies, but from the mid 1980 – ies began their unprecedented growth due to the widespread opening of casinos and the legalization of gambling: casino, slot machines, sports betting, lotteries, etc. From 1994 appeared the first online casinos and for today in the Internet all variants of gambling games are presented. The development of information and digital technologies has made them easily accessible. Now you can participate in gambling: place a bet, play card games, roulette, lottery and slot machines at any time directly from your mobile phone, tablet, or laptop. In addition, gambling is widely advertised on television and on the same Internet. This ease of access and involvement has led to the fact that gambling involvement of both adults and adolescent youth in some countries has reached the scale of an epidemic. A particularly sharp jump is observed in countries where gambling has been legalized relatively recently. (Abbott & Volberg, 1996,1999) A significant role has played the interest of the governments of many large States in the growing revenues of the gambling business. (Hodgins & Petry, 2016).

Numerous studies in the form of interviews and surveys of gamblers on the subject of what was the impetus for the start of the game, how they became interested and therefore decided to participate in gambling, revealed the following conditions for the beginning of gambling:

  • Informing the immediate environment: friends, relatives, classmates, employees-56%. Some of these people shared their experience of participation in gambling and the experience of winning.
  • Advertising. 36%. Was interested in the holiday atmosphere, success, content and design.
  • Work in the gambling business – 6%. Programmer, web designer, employee of a gambling establishment.

This data shows us how much influence, the information provided, in a certain way has on the involvement in gambling and how much responsibility gaming companies have in terms of advertising their services. Teenagers and young people are particularly susceptible to such information. Recently, we have started to actively launch advertising aimed at involving women in gambling. This is especially sad, since women’s addiction occurs faster and is more severe with serious mental disorders and are 2-3 times more likely to commit suicide.

Many authors draw attention to the direct relationship between the legalization of gambling business and the growth of people involved in gambling. For example, in 1960, 61% of the US population participated in gambling, and in 1990 this indicator increased to 80% (Unwin B. K., 2000).

The annual global losses from the gambling are estimated at $ 400 billion in 2016 (Bogart, 2011; The data team, 2017).

It is expected that the prevalence of gambling will continue to expand among new populations with a high risk of developing dependences. Over the past 10 years, gambling involvement has increased 17.5 times among different population groups.

For today, the prevalence of clinical dependencies of pathological and problem gambling according to various studies over the past 10 years varies from 0.1 to 6.0% among adults and almost in 2 times more from 0.2 to 12.5% among teenagers. And this is because gambling are not legal activities (Molinaro et al. 2014; Gupta and Derevensky 2000; Volberg et al. 2010).

And the number of players experiencing serious subclinical problems are in 2-3 times more. This is despite the fact that different evaluation criteria and sample parameters were used in the studies, and it is well known that most of the problems of the heart and brain are not addressed by professional treatment (Braun et al. 2014), and more than 5-10% of those who apply. And there were studies of the prevalence in a minority of countries in the world, which were not global in nature and without constant accounting for changes (were one-time character). Therefore, these figures only very roughly reflect the real picture.

Some studies have shown that the degree of harm associated with heart games is similar to the scale of a major depressive disorder, as well as alcohol consumption and alcohol dependence (Browne et al., 2016; 2017). In 2.5 times more, champion of diabetes, and in 3.0 times more, champion of drug-related disorders.

Social negative consequences in a relationship of:

  • financial losses incurred not only by the players themselves, but also by their families, as well as businesses and organizations in connection with the wasting of their money and property on the game
  • damage to family relationships: divorce, loss of friends, trust of colleagues and business partners. In fact, the player’s society is gradually replaced by the game one. The circle of communication is limited to other players and employees of gambling establishments, relations with which are quite superficial and do not go deeper than commodity – money. All other people (friends, acquaintances, colleagues, relatives) begin to be divided into two categories: those that contribute to the game and those that hinder it. And the attitude to them respectively consumer.
  • loss of employment, termination of education


Harassment by the law in connection with debts and crimes related to the extraction of funds for the game:

  • 92% stole money and things from the house, up to the complete removal of things;
  • 22.7% committed these actions outside the house;
  • 13.3% committed embezzlement of trusted money;
  • 6% committed robberies

Damage to health is associated with an extremely unfavorable and destructive way of life:

  • consequences of chronic stress in which the player lives and concomitant use of alcohol, drugs, smoking, violation of the regime and quality of food, sleep and wakefulness.
  • neglect of health, lack of prevention and timely treatment of diseases.
  • on average, the life expectancy of gamblers is 20 years less than in the general population.

Mental disorders as negative consequences of GD

Numerous studies of concomitant psychopathology in gambling shows that various mental disorders can both precede the development of gambling addiction and be a consequence of it, i.e. they detect a temporary sequence in both directions.

Of course, both mentally healthy people and those who have some mental disorders or problems at the subclinical level can become depended on gambling. But in the case of psychopathology, this disorder becomes heavier when involved in gambling, and in the absence of it develops. In General, almost 80% of GD cases are diagnosed with one or another, or two, or more comorbid mental illnesses.

And this is very important to emphasize, because representatives of the gaming industry insist that their products and services are safe, and dependence occurs in a special category of mentally vulnerable people. By the way, such a special category of vulnerable people has not been identified. Anyone who has started gambling can become depended on gambling. The GD category includes people completely different in gender and age, with any character and temperament, different social status: from the unemployed to a successful businessman, poor and rich, married and single, with various mental health conditions and without them, different levels of education: from a high school student to a researcher. This once again leads to the conclusion that the products and services of the gaming industry and the way they are positioned are extremely intrusive, manipulative and dangerous.

Mental disorders in individuals with GD:

  • substance use disorder (alcohol, drugs): 57.5-72%,
  • mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder) 37.9-60%,
  • anxiety disorders 37.4 – 63%
    (Black R.C., Mayer T, 1988, Bland R.C., Newman S. C., Orn H., Stebelski G., 1993, Petri N. M., Stinson F. S., Grant B. F., 2005, Kessler R.C., Hwang I., LaBrie R., Petukhova M., Simpson N. A., Winter’s K. C., Sheffer H. J., 2008, Lorains et al. 2011)
  • personality disorders 25-93%
    (Black D. W., Moyer T., 1988, Fernandez-Montalvo J., Echeburua E., 2004, Bagby R. M. et al., 2008)
  • suicidal risk is very high in people with PG and is observed in 50%, up to 80% report suicidal thoughts, and 48-49.2% have persistent suicidal ideas of an obsessive nature, 12-35.8% commit suicide attempts.
    (Black et al., 2015; Moghaddam, Yoon, Dickerson, Kim, & Westermeyer, 2015; Hansen & Rossow, 2008; Kausch, 2003; Komoto, 2014; Ledgerwood, Steinberg, Wu, & Potenza, 2005; Moghaddam, Yoon, Dickerson, Kim, &Westermeyer, 2015; Ronzitti et al., 2017).

In a recent study conducted in Sweden (A. Karsslon and A. Hakansson,2018. Gambling disorder, increased mortality, suicidality, and associated comorbidity: A longitudinal nation wide register study), people with GD who were on inpatient and outpatient treatment from 2005 to 2016 published very interesting results. The average age of death was 51 years, and the average age of suicide was 32.5 years. The main causes of death are self-murder (31%), overtaxing of cancer (16%) and diseases of the circulatory system (12%). This is a high rate, even though the sample did not include deaths from undetermined causes, which in fact were also suicides (together with these cases, the figure would have increased to 40%). In the age category of 20-49 years, the death rate increased in 6.2 times in the population as a whole, 4.6 times in the average man, and 10.5 times in the average woman. The death rate as a result of suicide was 15.1 times higher for men aged 20-74 than for the General population, and 19.3 times higher in the 20-49 category. As far as we know, this is one of the few studies on completed suicides in GD and the only large-scale (nationwide) study.

In countries and cities, there are many easy-to-access gambling games, such as Vegas, Atlantic city, Reno, etc.D., the risk of suicide is high. For example, in the US, the suicide Rate of Las Vegas residents Is 50% of the above comparison of residents of other cities and in other countries with a similar area and population. International hotels in Las Vegas have been subjected to the risk of homicide more often than in other countries. (Moghaddam JF, 2015).

There are social, problematic and pathological forms of participation in gambling, but many studies clearly and reasonably demonstrate that these are not special three categories of players, but only stages of addiction formation.

Thus, gambling is not a harmless entertainment, but a powerful risk factor for the formation of addiction, which can lead to huge debts, the collapse of family and relationships, the loss of work, friends, depression, other addictions, and suicide. To the collapse of all life and moral degradation of the individual.