Gambling addiction has become a topic that has attracted increasing attention and discussion in recent years. Gambling, which many people start for entertainment purposes, can turn into a serious addiction for some individuals. This can lead to significant psychological, social and economic problems for both the individual and their family and community. Gambling addiction becomes an uncontrollable urge and negatively affects a person's life. But can gambling addiction be treated and can it be considered a disease? In this article, we will answer these questions in detail.

Gambling addiction is generally considered a disease in the world of modern medicine and psychology. Authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) classify gambling addiction as a mental health disorder. This classification indicates that gambling addiction is a serious health problem and requires medical intervention. In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) included gambling addiction in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11)

Gambling addiction, like alcohol and substance addiction, leads to changes in the brain's reward-motivation system. These changes lead to an inability to control the urge to gamble, which can lead to serious health problems. Treatment for gambling addiction can vary depending on the degree of addiction and the individual's condition, and can be a long process.

Chemical Changes in the Brain

Gambling addiction is closely linked to the reward system in the brain. When gambling, the brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that gives a feeling of pleasure and reward. In individuals who are addicted to gambling, dopamine levels may be higher than normal, which increases the urge to gamble. A 2010 study found similar increases in dopamine levels in the brains of gambling addicts as seen in other addictions.

Gambling Addiction Symptoms

The symptoms of gambling addiction often vary depending on the person's gambling habits and how these habits affect their life. It is wrong to assume that every person who gambles is addicted to gambling. Here are common signs of gambling addiction:

  1. Inability to Control the Urge to Gamble: Gambling addicts are unable to control the urge to gamble and this urge prevents the person from fulfilling other responsibilities.
  2. Financial Problems: Gambling addiction can lead to serious financial problems. Gambling debts can negatively affect an individual's finances and even lead to bankruptcy.
  3. Social and Occupational Problems: Gambling addiction can negatively affect a person's social relationships and professional life. Family problems, job loss and social isolation can all result from gambling addiction.
  4. Mental Health Problems: Gambling addiction can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. A 2015 study showed that gambling addicts are more prone to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Gambling Addiction Treatment Methods

Treatment for gambling addiction can vary depending on the degree of addiction and the individual's condition. Here are the methods commonly used to treat gambling addiction:


Psychotherapy is a widely used method in the treatment of gambling addiction. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is considered an effective approach in the treatment of gambling addiction. CBT aims to change an individual's thought patterns and behaviors. A 2013 study showed that CBT is effective in the treatment of gambling addiction.

Medication Treatment

In some cases, medication can also be used to treat gambling addiction. Medications such as antidepressants and opioid antagonists can be effective in reducing the urge to gamble. These medications are used under the supervision of a doctor to help correct chemical imbalances in the brain.

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