When it comes to addiction problems, gambling addiction somehow doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. While we can clearly see the effects that a drug or alcohol addiction can have on an individual, many problem gamblers manage to “fly under the radar”. Many of them appear outwardly to be perfectly successful, well-adjusted and “normal” people; certainly not the kind of person you’d claim had a problem of some kind.
For this reason, gambling addiction is often left to run for far longer than other addictions. It’s just so easy to have a quick flutter on your smart phone or an online casino that even catching problem gamblers in the act can be difficult. The problem, of course, is that the longer a gambling addiction is left to run its course, the more severe the outcome will likely be. Worse, the harder it will be for that individual – and their family – to conquer their addiction and rebuild their life.
Problem Gambling Statistics
If you are suspicious that someone you know may be suffering from a gambling problem then it’s natural to seek out as much information as possible. In doing so, you will hopefully not only be able to confirm or deny whether or not they really do have a gambling addiction, but will also be able to construct a fact-based argument to encourage them to get help.
If you’re looking for problem gambling statistics to help a friend or family member to accept their problem, or you’d like to know more about the factors affecting gambling addiction then read on; we’ve gathered some of the most recent – and useful – statistics together to enable you to gain a fair impression of how severe problem gambling really is.
Who Does Problem Gambling Affect?
The first obvious question relates to who is most often affected by problem gambling. The fact is that while either sex can be affected, typically men are far more likely to suffer from a gambling addiction. The only anomaly here is bingo, which is enjoyed predominantly by women, who have shown a 6% increase in gambling over the last few years.
Generally speaking, the earlier one starts gambling, the more likely it is for a gambling addiction to arise. For this reason, teenagers and young people caught gambling should be of particular concern. Even if they claim to be gambling without money, or to have the situation under control, there are concerns that this may not necessary be the case.
That does of course not exclude either women, or more mature gamblers, from developing an addiction, just the odds are highest in young men.
One final point here is that problem gambling is most likely to affect those with some form of clinical depression. In studies, 76% of those with a gambling addiction were also found to have some significant form of depression. For some reason these two factors often go hand-in-hand, which can make treating a gambling addiction rather problematic.
In many cases its’ not just the gambling addiction that needs to be broken; counselling and possibly even medication may be required to deal with the problems associated with depression too.
What Is The Problem?
If so many gambling addicts manage to hold down a job and a family, and can often pass invisibly through a crowd, what is really the harm of gambling?
Firstly, gambling in itself isn’t inherently bad. Around two thirds of the adult population take part in some kind of occasional gambling such as buying a lottery ticket, scratch card or putting a little money on a horse. As a form of entertainment there is nothing inherently wrong with gambling.
It is only when gambling develops into an addiction that that problems start to arise. Roughly 1% of the adult population is estimated to suffer from a gambling addiction, while a further 7% are classed as “at risk”. It’s fair to say therefore that gambling isn’t a small problem. If you’re concerned that a friend or family member may be developing a habit then the statistics suggest this is possible. In Nevada, the rate of gambling addiction is far higher, and tops 6% of the population there.
When you consider that up to 8% of the population may be affected by gambling, while illegal narcotics affects only 3% of the population, it seems likely there are far more problem gamblers than you may initially be aware of.
The problem gambling statistics suggest that many gamblers go on for months or even years before their addiction finally catches up with them, normally in the form of insurmountable debt. Statistics suggest that the average debt among those seeking gambling addiction treatment is between $55,000 and $90,000. Understandably this can put personal finances and family relationships under pressure.
Worse than just the initial debt is the effect this debt can have. It can, for example, cause some problem gamblers to resort to crime in order to make ends meet. It is also a key factor in many suicide cases. Gambling addiction statistics suggest that just under a half of all suicides by those with a gambling addiction had significant debts at the time of their attempt.
How To Beat A Gambling Addiction
It should come as no surprise that if you, or someone you know, is suffering from a gambling addiction, the sooner you can get them help the better. While most individuals with gambling problems strongly believe they re-balance their finances with just a few big wins, the reality is rather different. The odds are always stacked in the house’s favour, so they always win over the long term.
Sitting down with the addict and discussing the problem can often be tough as so few addicts believe they have a problem, and even those that do are unlikely to admit it. Whatever the situation, it is important that some form of gambling addiction therapy is undergone, followed by regular support sessions to help keep the addict motivated.
Your doctor should be able to provide help and advice on matters of gambling addiction or if you’d rather keep the problem quiet, a number of residential addiction treatment centers may be found.