Are There Different Levels Of Gambling Addiction?

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Addiction and alcoholism aren’t always the fully developed experience of chemical dependency. There are different stages of addiction in all of its forms. Most often, people ask whether an addiction is really an eating disorder because they don’t want to admit that they have any kind of problem. Unfortunately, this is how many fully developed addictions fully develop-denial and comparison. Someone denies that they have a problem and compares themselves to what they believe to be the real definition of addiction. Since they don’t meet the level of addiction they believe to be truly problematic, they don’t consider their problem to be truly problematic. Any kind of compulsive problem is a problem and can quickly develop into a bigger problem. For example, with gambling. Gambling addiction can be considered in three different levels: compulsive, binge, and problem gambling. Each phase of gambling addiction poses a unique threat to the person experiencing it. It is easy to move up in the ranks of gambling addiction but almost impossible to move back down without abstaining from gambling entirely and entering recovery.

Problem Gambling

Any gambling behaviors which could be called “gambling problem” is a problem. Once someone starts gambling, they gamble too much or cannot stop their gambling. They aren’t capable of gambling responsibly or controlling their gambling behaviors.While they aren’t getting involved in illegal gambling rings, they are still experiencing a disturbance in the normalcy of their lives because of their gambling tendencies. This is the beginning phase of a gambling addiction where early intervention can be the most successful in preventing gambling action from fully developing.

Binge Gambling

Someone who participates in binge behaviors is able to abstain for periods of time. A binge gambler may not gamble regularly, but when they do participate in gambling behaviors it quickly gets out of control. However, like the problem gambler, the binge gambler is able to stop their gambling after their binge is over. Nonetheless, the way they gamble once they start gambling is always problematic.

Compulsive Gambling

Compulsive gambling is the final stage of gambling addiction development because the ability to control and manage gambling is completely lost. The mind has become addicted to the process of gambling, obsessing about gambling, craving gambling, and needing to raise the stakes of gambling despite negative consequences. Compulsive gamblers will bet more than they have, get caught up in loans or with bookies, and risk their family’s financial status.


If you are addicted to gambling, do not have shame. Addiction happens. Thankfully, there is help available. Avalon By The Sea serves as one of Southern California’s only certified primary mental health treatment facilities, offering a unique clinical experience for healing from gambling addiction as well as dual diagnosis substance use disorders. For a confidential assessment and more information call us today: 888-958-7511

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