People that suffer from gambling addiction often have underlying problems with other disorders like alcohol, drugs, anxiety, and depression. Often, they consider suicide. Many people with gambling addiction have financial, personal, or legal problems. Losing a job, divorce, and bankruptcy regularly occur amongst pathological gamblers.
🔸 Biological Factors
Biological factors are outside your control, and unfortunately, they can increase your gambling addiction risk.
One of the first factors taken into account would be age. If you’re exposed to gambling from a young age, the risk of developing a gambling problem increases. However, problematic gambling is more common among young adults and middle-aged people. Addiction is more prominent among men than women, although these demographics are shifting as more women also start to gamble. Women often begin at a later age, but when they start betting, they tend to become addicted faster than men.
🔸 Psychological Factors
Substance abuse, depression, personality disorders, and anxiety are common in compulsive gamblers. Gambling addiction is also closely associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and hyperactivity, or ADHD.
Certain personality traits are also at a higher risk for compulsive gambling, including impulsive and highly competitive workaholics. If you’re easily bored or restless, it can also put you at a higher risk of developing a problem.
A study conducted in Canada indicates that 41.7% of players with a severe gambling problem have visited a psychiatrist for reasons other than gambling. It’s a clear indication that a person's mental stability, depression, anxiety, and other psychological occurrences are a decisive factor that leads to addiction.
🔸 Social Factors
If your circle of friends tends to gamble, it can often put you at risk of developing an addiction. Peer pressure can cause you to feel excluded if you don’t participate in a group activity that includes betting.
The extreme opposite can also have the same effect on your gambling habits. Loneliness, lack of a social support network, and stressful life events are all factors that contribute to gambling addiction. People who feel the need to join a community are more likely to develop a habit because they begin to need the sense of companionship that social gambling can often bring.
In both cases, a support group would be an excellent start for you if you can relate to some of these social factors that compel you to gamble more than you truly desire.
A recent Harvard study for the National Comorbidity Survey Replication showed that people with any underlying psychiatric disorder are 17.4 times more susceptible to compulsive gambling practices. Almost 75% of all people with a gambling problem also have a co-occurring alcohol abuse disorder, and nearly 40% had a co-occurring drug abuse disorder.
Further studies have indicated that personality, mood, and anxiety disorders are present between 40 and 60% of all persons with a compulsive gambling problem. In these cases, 23.5% of the people had a gambling disorder before the other comorbidities.
In short, ludomania rarely appears alone, and it can often become a precursor to other problems. That’s why it’s essential to identify a problem immediately and seek professional help as soon as possible.