An estimated 5% to 7% of the U.S. population struggles with some form of gambling addiction, according to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, which collected data from a Harvard Medical School analysis. The rate of problem gambling among teens and young adults can be two to three times that of adults, according to Ohio Responsible Gambling. Regardless of age, a gambling disorder is an illness much like other addictions and is progressive in nature. However, the urge to gamble can be managed with treatment and support.
Gambling becomes a problem when it disrupts a person’s mental, physical or spiritual health; his or her work, school or other activities; and his or her personal relationships, finances and/or reputation. According to the American Psychiatric Association the term “problem gambling” includes pathological or compulsive gambling, a progressive addiction characterized by a range of behaviors.