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Pathological gambling has been found to be more prevalent in people with mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, as well as obsessive compulsive disorder. Both of these facts make sense. Bipolar disorder is characterized by rapid swings in mood from mania to depression. The period of mania would be the time when the gambling was done, and the depression would be perhaps worse than the disease by itself because of the loss of money. Obsessive compulsive disorder isn't a strange place to find addiction either, as addiction is characterized by the inability to control compulsions toward something that is harmful to you. Following this reasoning the best way to treat gambling addiction would be mood stabilizers, such as lithium. In other words, if the cause of the addiction is thought to be the mood disorder, then treat the disorder and the addiction will go away.
Another way of looking at it is as a traditional addiction, such as an addiction to a substance. When looked at in this way, gambling addiction can be seen as an addiction to a behavior, a feeling, and a physical reward. The behavior is hanging around a casino. Many people make friends in the casinos where they gamble, just as alcoholics make friends who like to drink, and drug addicts make friends who like to do drugs. The feeling would actually be an addiction to adrenaline. And the physical reward is the money you would win. Just like with substance abuse, the sensitivity to adrenaline goes down and the addict begins to need to push up the stakes. In terms of the physical reward, many addicts find themselves down thousands of dollars, and feel that they need to continue until they break even.
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"Gambling as an Addiction." 123HelpMe.com. 16 Jun 2019
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