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About the Disorder

Pathological gambling is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR ) under "Impulse control disorders not elsewhere classified" and is defined as persistent and recurrent maladaptive gambling that interferes with personal, family, or occupational functioning. It is characterized by a loss of control over gambling, deception about the extent of involvement with gambling, family and job disruption, theft, and chasing losses (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

The rise in gambling opportunities in our society has been associated with an increase in pathological gambling. Prevalence rates of problematic gambling are currently estimated at 1% to 2% in North America. Moreover, though pathological gambling can have severe family, occupational, social, academic, financial, and legal consequences, an estimated 97% of problem gamblers in the U.S. fail to seek treatment.

For more information, please consult the useful links in our Pathological Gambling Resources section.

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