Gambling Screening Strategies


The prevalence of gambling in the United States has made it a common activity to screen patients for addiction in primary care settings. While gambling is not considered a drug, its addictive potential may be problematic. The relative importance of evaluating gambling behaviors depends on the associated health risks and benefits. The following article describes some screening strategies for pathological gambling. Identifying symptoms of problem gambling and seeking treatment for the disorder are important first steps. Learn about the different types of treatment available.

Problem gamblers

Problem gamblers see their general practitioners more frequently than most people, and for a variety of different reasons. Some of these reasons include physical symptoms associated with excessive gambling and stress, social problems, financial difficulties, and relationship stress. Some of these individuals also experience family violence or financial problems related to gambling. But no matter which of these reasons applies to a given situation, there are ways to help the person struggling with problem gambling. Listed below are some of the most common causes of pathological gambling.

One reason for increasing interest in the prevalence of pathological gambling among adolescents is the growing number of gambling opportunities, industry practices, and regulation. Despite the growing popularity of gambling, there are few studies that have documented the actual prevalence of pathological gambling. Most of the research focused on prevalence of problem gambling in general U.S. residents, and the prevalence of problem gambling among this population is difficult to estimate. Therefore, the Committee recommends that researchers focus on the prevalence of problem gambling among vulnerable demographic groups.


While gambling is a harmless pastime when done with a healthy attitude, it can become a dangerous habit if the person does so regularly. Problem gambling is often considered a ‘hidden addiction’, because it does not exhibit physical symptoms or outward signs. Despite the fact that gambling can be addictive, people who are prone to problem gambling should seek professional help. Some of the warning signs of gambling addiction include lying or stealing, among others.

Firstly, excessive gambling can lead to numerous emotional effects, including increased stress levels, depressive feelings, and suicidal thoughts. A gambling addict can even develop suicidal tendencies, if they lose all their money in a single session. Another warning sign of an addiction is an increase in debt. The person who gambles excessively will tend to secretly withdraw money from other people, which can lead to more problems at home.


Problem gambling has negative social, psychological, and physical consequences. This disorder is a type of impulse control disorder and the symptoms closely mirror those of substance addiction. Problem gamblers may experience headaches, distress, and intestinal disorders. Other symptoms include a sense of hopelessness, despondency, and attempts at suicide. In addition to the negative social and psychological consequences of problem gambling, this disorder also has a high incidence among alcohol addicts.

Gambling can affect relationships, finances, and even the way you socialize with friends and family. Although it is more common in men, women typically begin their gambling problems later in life and can become addicted much more quickly. However, the gambling patterns of men and women are increasingly similar. There are several factors that may increase the likelihood of developing a gambling problem, including family or peer influence, medications for Parkinson’s disease, and restless leg syndrome. Personality traits and personality characteristics may also contribute to gambling addiction.


Inpatient treatment for gambling addiction is often required if the problem is severe. During this time, you will be under constant supervision, participate in intensive daily sessions, and receive counseling to help you manage your life differently. While a few weeks of inpatient treatment does not cure the addiction, it will break the compulsion and provide a new way of being. After all, you have already invested time and money into treatment, right?

Medication can also be used to treat depression and anxiety, two conditions that often lead to gambling addiction. Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed medications for gambling addiction. Using these medications, however, is not recommended for all patients. While they may help reduce gambling urges in the short term, they do not address the root cause of the problem. Some people may benefit from medication in combination with a self-help program. However, it is important to note that most studies have used a weak experimental design, which makes causal attribution difficult.