Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Compulsive gambling affects both men and women and cuts across cultural and socio-economic lines. Although most people who play cards or wager never develop a gambling problem, certain factors are more often associated with compulsive gamblers:
- Other behavior or mood disorders. People who seem to gamble compulsively often have substance abuse problems, mood and personality disorders, as well as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many compulsive gamblers abuse alcohol, and many compulsive gamblers experience major depression.
- Age. Compulsive gambling is more common in younger people.
- Sex. Compulsive gambling is more common in men than women. Women who do gamble typically start later in life, are more apt to have depression and gamble as a way of escape from problems, and may become addicted more quickly.But in recent years, gambling patterns among men and women have become more similar.
- Family influence. If your parents had a gambling problem, the chances are greater that you will too.
- Medications used to treat Parkinson's disease. Medications called dopamine agonists have a rare side effect that results in compulsive behavior in some people.
- Certain personality characteristics. Being highly competitive, a workaholic, restless or easily bored may increase your risk.
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