Gambling Disorders - Causes and Risks

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

If known, what was the cause of your gambling disorder? Did you have a risk factor?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver


* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!


I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white square:

What are causes and risk factors for gambling addiction?

When contemplating why people gamble, it is important to understand that there is usually no one specific cause for pathological gambling. Some potential exceptions include the observation that some individuals who are given medications that treat Parkinson's disease or restless leg syndrome (including pramipexole [Mirapex]) have been observed to develop compulsive gambling. The theory about that connection involves the increased activity of the chemical messenger dopamine in the brain as the culprit. Another example where compulsive gambling may have a single cause is in bipolar disorder since exorbitant spending, including in the form of compulsive gambling, may be a symptom of bipolar disorder.

Much more commonly, gambling addiction, like most other emotional conditions, is understood to be the result of a combination of biological vulnerabilities, ways of thinking and social stressors (biopsychosocial model). There are however, elements that increase the likelihood that the individual will develop a gambling addiction. Risk factors for developing pathological gambling include schizophrenia, mood problems, antisocial personality disorder, and alcohol or cocaine addiction. People who suffer from compulsive gambling have a tendency to be novelty seekers. Individuals who have a low level of serotonin in the brain are also thought to be at higher risk for developing pathological gambling compared to others.

Return to Gambling Addiction

See what others are saying

Comment from: david, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 21

I had never been one to gamble. This is how it got started. One evening about 15 years ago, I left my usual routine of hanging out with friends, usually having a beer with them. I went to another bar alone and didn't even know why I left them and why I went there. I took a beer and with my last 3 $ coins went to a machine, deposited the coins and one of my early spins I hit a royal full, collected a pot of $ 100.00. Although, at first I did not think much of it, I have not been able to quit, except for one year of abstaining.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: 777, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: February 07

I never had any interest to gamble until I joined a colleague after work at a slot bar. I won about $40 and didn't think much of it. After a while it became a habit. Two problems were that it was next to my workplace and workers got together after work to have a beer there.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

Stay Informed!

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox FREE!