What is gambling addiction ?


Gambling addiction is the pathological overconsumption of gambling. Gambling develops into an addiction when it turns into an obsession and becomes the all-consuming center of a person’s life. Addicts invest too much time and money in gambling – to the neglect of other areas of their lives like family, hobbies and work. They gamble to stimulate themselves (“nowism”) or to blank out their worries or thoughts of something unpleasant (“escapism”). In a process that generally extends over several years, gambling addicts increasingly lose all social contact, along with their self-esteem and their self-confidence.

Very often, a gambling addiction is triggered by a critical event like the loss of a partner or a job. The people affected find themselves facing an overpowering desire to “get away from what is happening now” (“escapism”)and increasingly seek some form of distraction. They become more and more dependent on gambling, which begins to assume the central role in their lives. A recent study (Kalke et al., 2015) found that around 1.1 % of the Austrian population between ages of 14 and 65 suffer from a gambling addiction.

Young people are particularly at risk

Young people can at times also be borderline, i.e. they sometimes cross borders to ultimately identify their own limits. If these borders are regularly crossed for gambling, the risk of developing a gambling addiction is particularly high.

Symptoms of pathological gambling

In the following video, Professor Christian Haring, Head of the sucht.hilfe BIN counselling centers in Tyrol, describes the development of a gambling addiction. He refers to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (IDC-10, F63.0) of the World Health Organization (WHO).

To read the sub-titles in English, please click on the "CC" button on the right of the menu bar.