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5 Samples of Inherited Gambling Addiction

There is never a clear answer to that question, as genetic makeup is complex and many factors come into play when determining whether an addiction may be hereditary. While some people might argue that genetics would not determine a person’s personality or ability to seek treatment for addiction, it could in fact make it easier for people who have relatives with similar characteristics to them.

Gambling addiction and inheritance can be confounding issues. When an individual has a gambling addiction, they are not able to control their urge to gamble and may neglect other areas of their life in order to facilitate the obsession. If the individual is lucky enough, they may escape with minimal consequences. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Gambling addiction often leaves the gambler destitute after living recklessly for years or even decades – all because of an impulse that could have lasted only up to 10 minutes if not for a lack of self-control. This trait does not only apply to individuals with gambling addictions either; compulsive gamblers are also as guilty of it as anyone else is.

What is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, in which a severe problem with gambling has become the primary focus of an individual’s life. It is different from most forms of addiction, in that it typically affects only one individual, and the person gambles for fun or for profit, rather than for drugs.

5 Samples of Inherited Gambling Addiction

Gambling Addiction Triggers

Gambling can be triggered by an individual’s environment; this is also known as environmental conditioning. For example, if someone’s home is decorated or has objects that associate gambling with success or security, then they may start to gamble. Environmental conditioning can be both positive and negative, with some being helpful and others being harmful. Some of the common gambling addiction triggers include

  • Retirement
  • Traumatic situations
  • Loneliness
  • Desperate need for money
  • Lack of financial strength

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Symptoms of Inherited Gambling Addiction

If an individual is the “lucky” one who inherits gambling addiction from their parent, they may not recognize it. However, if they do understand the symptoms of inherited gambling addiction, it will make them realize that something has changed. Inherited Gambling Addiction can be an intense struggle for many people. The percentage of gambling addiction in different age groups varies. Here is a brief table about what age groups gamble the most.

                        Age Groups                                               Gambling Participation
16-24 years old 30.6%
25-34 years old 37.9%
34-44 years old 43.6%
45-54 years old 51%
55-64 years old 47.4%
65+ years old 39%


Many people have noticed that when someone in the family begins to have gambling problems that seem to worsen with time and after several occurrences of losing money or other signs of problem gambling, someone else in the family may show unusual dependency on alcohol or drugs.

1. Loss of Touch with Reality and Personality

Gambling addiction is a very common problem; research has shown that gambling addiction affects as many individuals as drug addiction. Though gambling is a fun recreational pastime, the financial cost can be staggering to those who cannot control their desire to gamble or do not recognize when they are losing control over their lives due to compulsive behavior.

2. Impulsivity

People who are compulsive gamblers either cannot control themselves around gambling or somehow convince themselves that they can win by chance. Then, the slot machine shows up and they “accidentally” lose their life savings. Many people think that with gambling, whether it is playing slots or going on a plane to Las Vegas, the odds are in favor of your winning – but this is not true at all.

Gamblers, who believe in this, are playing with house money and eventually losing all of their funds.

3. Spending More Than They Can Afford

People who have a gambling addiction tend to stop making financial decisions. They start using their credit cards for funding gambling and playing at tables. Borrowing is a great way to increase the financial costs of your gambling addiction and the debt can start to pile up, making the addiction worse.

4. Gambling Excessively to Get a Rush

Some people who have a gambling problem rely on their addiction as a source of stress relief. They feel like they need to take chances in order to feel better, but they just end up spinning their wheels and not making any progress financially. Trying new things is an important part of life, but if you are doing it with money that you do not have, you may find yourself spinning your wheels and going nowhere.

5. Gambling with Family Money

If a person is dealing with gambling addiction and there is a family member who uses gambling as an escape from negative emotions, loss of control, or other problems, there can be serious financial issues that arise from the addiction. Family members may be taking on more debt to support the gambling behavior of a loved one – making it difficult for them to manage their own finances.

Recognizing Gambling Addiction

Though people can have a problem with their gambling addiction without realizing how severe it is, they should understand that this is not normal behavior. If you are concerned about a friend or family member and discover that they have a gambling addiction, it is very important to not tell them to “get over it”. Here are some points that can help with gambling addiction diagnosis:

  • Always thinking about gambling and betting
  • Gambling makes the person super excited
  • Gambling whenever feeling stressed or down
  • Lying about not gambling
  • Spending more money on gambling

Once someone has agreed to seek help for gambling addiction, it can be very helpful to get them into therapy with a professional. Therapy can be helpful in understanding that they cannot gamble when they want to and what steps they can take to stop doing so. Otherwise, the person may continue to gamble as long as they want and do not want outside assistance.

If you are an individual who has come across an individual who thinks their compulsive gambling is going beyond normal behavior; think again.


Like all addictions, gambling is a disease. It has a profound effect on personal fulfillment and well-being, as well as causing substantial social disruption.

People often do not understand that gambling is actually a form of addiction; it can be imagined that people who gamble would always win because they have nothing to lose. However, this is just not the case with people who have an addictive personalities. Those who are addicted to gambling don’t mind losing money because they view it as an opportunity to break even or even profit from the experience; this is why they are willing to trade their money for the chance of winning more.


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