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What is Gambling Addiction?

Pathologic Gambling (PG) has been considered a chronic, lifelong condition, although more recent date are challenging this notion (1,24,27).  PG and SUDs (substance-use disorders)  share clinical characteristics and diagnostic criteria. Individuals with PG often experience withdrawal, craving, tolerance, and failed attempts to reduce or abate gambling behaviors - all common features of SUDs. the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for PG reflect these similarities. A diagnosis of PG requires that the patient display five or more of the following: preoccupation with gambling; gambling with greater amounts of money to receive the same level of desired experience (tolerance); repeated, unsuccessful attempts to reduce or quit gambling,; is restless/irritable when trying to stop gambling (withdrawal); gambles to escape from a dysphoric state; gambles to regain gambling-related losses ("chases" losses); lies in significant relationships about gambling; engages in illegal activity in order to fund gambling; has risked/ lost a job or significant other due to gambling; and relies on others to fund gambling. Additionally, an exclusionary criterion exists to specify that the gambling is not better accounted for by manic episodes.


Ries, R., Fiellin, D., Miller, S., & Saitz, R. (2014). The ASAM Principles of Addiction Medicine (Fifth ed., p. 56). Wolters Kluwer.

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