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What mental illness causes gambling?

Gambling is a widespread activity across the world. People enjoy the thrill and the excitement that comes with gambling. While most people gamble recreationally without any harm, some individuals develop a compulsive gambling problem, leading to negative consequences such as financial ruin and relationship problems.

Compulsive gambling, also known as a gambling disorder or ludomania, is a serious mental health condition that affects about 2% of individuals worldwide. Gambling addiction may lead to harmful behaviors such as lying, stealing, and even suicide. In this blog post, we will explore what mental illness causes gambling.

What Causes Compulsive Gambling?

Compulsive gambling is often associated with underlying mental health problems. Some of the mental illnesses that cause gambling addiction include:

1. Substance Misuse Disorders

Substance misuse disorders, such as drug or alcohol abuse, often co-occur with problem gambling. Some individuals may use drugs or alcohol to cope with feelings of anxiety, depression, or stress that may result from gambling. Gambling may also be a way to escape negative emotions and problems in life. The use of drugs or alcohol can lead to impaired judgment and a higher risk of developing a gambling addiction.

2. Personality Disorders

Individuals with certain personality disorders may have a higher risk of developing a gambling addiction. Borderline personality disorder (BPD), for instance, is often linked to impulsive behavior and unstable emotions. People with BPD may experience intense feelings of emptiness, boredom, or dissatisfaction and may seek out stimulation and excitement through gambling.

3. Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety disorders are also common among individuals with a gambling addiction. Gambling may provide temporary relief from feelings of sadness, anxiety, or stress. It may also provide a sense of excitement and pleasure that individuals with depression or anxiety may lack in their daily lives.

4. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a condition that causes cycles of extreme highs and lows in mood and energy. Individuals with bipolar disorder may experience manic or hypomanic episodes that lead to impulsive and risky behaviors such as gambling. Gambling during a manic episode may provide a sense of euphoria and excitement that individuals with bipolar disorder may seek out.

5. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that causes individuals to experience persistent and intrusive thoughts or fears. They may then engage in compulsive behaviors to alleviate the anxiety caused by these thoughts. In some cases, gambling may become a compulsive behavior for individuals with OCD.

6. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Individuals with ADHD may have a higher risk of developing a gambling addiction. They may have a hard time focusing on mundane activities and may seek out excitement and novelty to stimulate their brains. Gambling may provide the rush of excitement and stimulation that individuals with ADHD may seek out.


Compulsive gambling is a serious mental health condition that can lead to financial ruin and relationship problems. While gambling may be a fun and exciting activity for some individuals, it may become problematic for individuals with underlying mental health problems.

Substance misuse, personality disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, and ADHD are some of the mental illnesses that cause gambling addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with a problem gambling, seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide diagnosis, treatment and support to help individuals overcome a gambling addiction.


What is the personality of a gambler?

The personality of a gambler is a topic that has long been debated among psychologists and addiction experts. While there is no clear-cut explanation for what makes someone more inclined to gamble, there are certain personality characteristics that have been identified as being associated with a higher risk for problem gambling.

One of the most common personality traits associated with gambling is a high level of competitiveness. Gamblers tend to be highly competitive people, always seeking out new challenges and opportunities to prove themselves. This can be a double-edged sword when it comes to gambling, as it can lead to a thrill-seeking mentality and a willingness to take risks that may not be financially prudent.

Another trait often associated with gambling is workaholism. People who exhibit workaholic tendencies may be more likely to gamble as a way to escape from the pressures of work and to take a break from the constant stress of their jobs. This can lead to compulsive gambling behavior, as individuals become more and more reliant on gambling as a coping mechanism.

Impulsivity is also a factor that can contribute to gambling behavior. Some people simply enjoy the rush of adrenaline that comes from making quick decisions, and gambling can provide an outlet for this desire. However, impulsive decision-making can also lead to poor choices and a lack of self-control when it comes to managing one’s finances.

Restlessness and boredom may also play a role in gambling behavior. People who are prone to feeling restless or easily bored may turn to gambling as a way to fill up their time and provide a sense of excitement and stimulation. This can lead to gambling becoming a compulsion, rather than a simple leisure activity.

While there is no single “type” of person who is more likely to become a problem gambler, certain personality traits have been identified as being associated with a higher risk for gambling addiction. These include competitiveness, workaholism, impulsivity, and restlessness/boredom. It is important for individuals who recognize these traits in themselves to be aware of the potential risks associated with gambling and to seek help if they find themselves struggling to control their gambling behavior.

What type of disability is addiction?

Addiction is a complex condition that involves physical, psychological, and social aspects. It is generally considered a disability because it is an impairment that affects the brain and neurological functions. Addiction can be classified as a chronic disease that affects the reward center of the brain, leading to compulsive drug use despite the harm it causes to the individual and those around them.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals who have a history of drug addiction, such as those in recovery or who are currently struggling with addiction, are protected under this law as individuals with a disability. This means that they are entitled to equal employment opportunities, access to public services, and reasonable accommodations that can help them overcome their addiction and lead a fulfilling life.

Addiction is also recognized as a mental illness and falls under the umbrella term of substance use disorders (SUDs). SUDs are characterized by a pattern of substance use that causes significant impairment or distress in daily life. People with SUDs often struggle with drug cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and difficulty quitting despite negative consequences.

Additionally, people with addiction may face stigmatization and discrimination due to the nature of their disability. Society’s view of addiction as a personal failing or lack of willpower rather than a medical condition can prevent individuals from seeking help and receiving necessary treatment.

Despite being labeled as a disability, many people with addiction can recover and lead healthy, fulfilling lives with proper treatment and support. Treatment for addiction often involves behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Addiction is considered a disability because it is a chronic condition that impairs neurological and psychological functions and can result in significant social, economic, and health impacts. People with addiction are entitled to legal protections and accommodations, and they deserve compassion and support in their journey towards recovery.