Is Problem Gambling and Addicted Gambling The Same?

Welcome Recovery Friends, Visitors, and Happy Easter!


OK, so I am a bit confused about a little question? Is there really a difference between problem gambling and addicted gambling? Now I have searched and searched to see what comes up on Google, and other websites. Then I decided to go to Wikipedia and see if they have a difference between the two. I find it kind of confusing, but here is what I found. First, I checked for Gambling Addiction, and all I got was THIS:

The page “Addicted gambling disorder” does not exist. You can ask for it to be created, but consider checking the search results below to see whether the topic is already covered.


    THEN, I went and typed in Problem Gambling and got a lot more…

Problem Gambling:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ~ (Redirected from Gambling addiction)

Problem gambling (or ludomania, but usually referred to as “gambling addiction“) is an urge to gamble continuously despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling is often defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behavior. Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria. Pathological gambling is a common disorder that is associated with both social and family costs.

The DSM-5 has re-classified the condition as an addictive disorder, with sufferers exhibiting many similarities to those who have substance addictions. The term gambling addiction has long been used in the recovery movement.[1] Pathological gambling was long considered by the American Psychiatric Association to be an impulse control disorder rather than an addiction.

However, data suggest a closer relationship between pathological gambling and substance use disorders than exists between PG and obsessive-compulsive disorder, largely because the behaviors in problem gambling and most primary substance use disorders (i.e., those not resulting from a desire to “self-medicate” for another condition such as depression) seek to activate the brain’s reward mechanisms while the behaviors characterizing obsessive-compulsive disorder are prompted by overactive and misplaced signals from the brain’s fear mechanisms.



Research by governments in Australia led to a universal definition for that country which appears to be the only research-based definition not to use diagnostic criteria: “Problem gambling is characterized by many difficulties in limiting money and/or time spent on gambling which leads to adverse consequences for the gambler, others, or for the community. Pathological gambling as “being unable to resist impulses to gamble, which can lead to severe personal, financial, or social consequences. ( Now this part I get, as I had all three with my own gambling addiction).

Most other definitions of problem gambling can usually be simplified to any gambling that causes harm to the gambler or someone else in any way; however, these definitions are usually coupled with descriptions of the type of harm or the use of diagnostic criteria.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has since reclassified pathological gambling as “gambling disorder” and has listed the disorder under substance-related and addictive disorders rather than impulse-control disorders. This is due to the symptomatology of the disorder resembling an addiction not dissimilar to that of substance-abuse.

In order to be diagnosed, an individual must have at least four of the following symptoms in a 12-month period:


  • Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement
  • Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
  • Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling
  • Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble)
  • Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed)
  • After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses)
  • Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling
  • Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, education or career opportunity because of gambling
  • Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling



“Let me get more personal with my own experiences”

It is a gambling problem if you either win or lose. If I won? I would be at the casino longer until every penny was gone. And if I lost? I would withdraw more money to try to win and chase what I lost. So it IS a never-ending cycle of win or lose. Most all of the above symptoms I had experienced. Personally, I feel problem gambling is the precursor to full-blown gambling addiction. WHY?  Because the addiction becomes a slow progression of money bet, preoccupation and racing thoughts when you’re not in action, the higher amounts of money need to feel you can win with for that rush of “euphoric high,” and  I used any excuse to go gamble, stress, hard work day, entitlement and more.

I lost a couple of jobs from my constant triggers and urges of wanting to go gamble, wasted whole paychecks and house payment money in just an hour or so. I sold, pawned anything of value, even stole money and had criminal and legal ramifications from that one stupid choice. You will do or find anyway to get money to gamble with when you run out of your OWN money. But many of you already know that gambling took way more from me than money, my reputation, character, jobs, friends and family, it almost cost me my life by way of two failed suicide attempts and almost my marriage as well.

Now your most likely wondering why I would share all my misdeeds and character defects right?  Well, all of them are already exposed and laid out in my current book/memoir for the whole world to read. I share my experiences so others who are still “gripped” by this addiction can see that no matter how far down you go into gambling addiction, you can pull yourself out and recover! I also want to inform, educate,  raise awareness and help others from this destructive disease.

Besides, my misdeeds and past will NOT define WHO I AM TODAY in recovery!

That is why I continue to share my recovery journey with others and advocate always “A Message of HOPE.”


“I am No Longer My Gambling Addiction. Hate The Disease, Not The Addict.”
Author & Columnist for In Recovery Magazine, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 


(Click to download e-book on Amazon Kindle)


“How does a good girl go bad? Based on a true story, told in the author’s own words, without polish or prose, this haunting tale of addiction, family secrets, abuse, sexual misconduct, destruction, crime and…. recovery! One day at a time, one page at a time. Learn of this remarkable and brave story.” MY STORY .  .  .  .