When you think of addiction, what do you think of? Most people consider drugs, or alcohol, or another sort of substance.

But, an increasing number of people are falling into gambling addiction – the addiction to the feeling of being close to that “big win” that is going to change your life forever.

The problem is, as many people find out – it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

And it causes financial issues and ruin for millions of people every year.

Let’s take a look at 20 different gambling addiction facts that you may have never considered before.

1. Gambling addiction is surprisingly common

It is estimated that 80 percent of adults in the United States gamble yearly.

And, out of every 100 gamblers, there are 2 to 3 people that have some sort of gambling problem – that is a huge number when you really think about just how many people that impacts around the country.

The number is even larger world-wide, and it’s estimated that the number continues to grow on a regular basis.

That’s why it’s so important we go and understand this disorder in detail.

2. 1 percent of the general problem consists of pathological gamblers

Pathological gamblers have a unique issue – no matter what it is that they are doing, they are likely to think about and become obsessed with gambling in some way, shape, or form – and that can be incredibly hindering when it comes to dealing with the addiction from the bottom up.

Pathological gambling means that they are likely to make almost anything a “gamble” so that they can get their fix.

This can make the whole issue that much more difficult for people to try and work out, no matter what that looks like.

3. 2-3 percent of gamblers are defined as problem gamblers

These numbers are huge.

That means that, for every 100 people that walk through the door of the casino, 2 to 3 of those people are problem gamblers.

That’s why there are now so many laws that are associated with gambling and providing the numbers to hotline that can assist people with gambling addiction.

The problem is so widespread that we need to make that information available so that people can get help as soon as they recognize that they have a gambling problem.

4. Gambling addiction is actually a neurological disorder

Like every sort of addiction that is out there, gambling addiction is something that comes down to how the brain is wired.

The neurological conditions that cause addiction are problematic and, even though there has been a lot of research related to these conditions, we are still working on finding ways to prevent addiction from taking hold in people’s lives in the first place.

Many researchers are hopeful that this sort of breakthrough is going to happen within the next few years, allowing us to help addicts before it becomes an even bigger issue to try and work through.

5. Sometimes addicts gamble for no particular reason

There doesn’t have to be a reason or a “trigger” that causes someone with a gambling addiction to go and gamble.

Sometimes, they just are bored or they want something to do, so they make the choice to either get online or go out to the casino and gamble.

While triggers can definitely make gambling happen much more often, addicts really don’t need any sort of excuse to go out and gamble.

6. Addicts contribute considerably to the BILLION dollar gambling industry

The gambling industry is huge, and it continues to grow on a yearly basis, likely due to the fact that so many adults that are of age to gamble go out and gamble regularly.

Millions of dollars are added to the system all of the time – and unfortunately, a lot of that money is from the pockets of people who are addicted to gambling.

Because of this, it makes it even more difficult to enact legislation that could potentially protect gambling addicts from putting themselves in particular situations in the first place.

7. Number of gambling addicts with an alcohol disorder is 75 percent

As with many types of addiction, there are usually multiple types of addiction going on at the same time.

Since alcohol is something that is readily available at casinos of all sorts, it’s not surprising that one of the most common addiction issues that coincide with gambling is alcohol addiction.

Many casinos offer a first drink for free (as long as you’re of age) and if you go often enough, you may be a member of the casino, which often gives you access to even more free drinks while you’re there.

8. Number of gambling addicts with a drug use problem is 38 percent

While drugs are not quite as readily available in casinos as other “addictions,” there are other ways for addicts to get connected with those who deal drugs.

Sometimes, the communities that certain casinos are located in have a high number of drug connections as well.

Not only that, but when gambling addicts are looking to get their “fix” that they get when they’re high rolling, sometimes they feel that drugs are the only way to do so.

9. 60 percent of gambling addicts are habitual smokers

In many casinos across the country, smoking is actually allowed – it depends on state and local laws regarding such things.

Smoking is one of those “comfortable addictions” that many gambling addicts turn to when it comes to staying ahead of their cravings – and, since it’s more “socially acceptable” than other types of addiction, it’s not surprising that there are many gamblers that decide to smoke, too.

10. 3-4 percent of the general American populace has a gambling problem

As mentioned above, there are a lot of people out there who are dealing with the issues that can come up with gambling.

While we really don’t know the exact number of people who are struggling with gambling addiction, these estimates can give us an idea of what sorts of things that we’re facing here.

Struggling with gambling addiction is difficult and, as we learn more about what may be going on in regards to these issues, we may be able to help reduce this number in the future.

11. Half of the total gambling addicts have had mood disorders

Many studies show that there is often a correlation with addiction and other mental health issues, often referred to as a “dual diagnosis.” This is why it’s not really surprising that many gambling addicts struggle with mood disorders, which include depression and other similar problems that may be in that category.

It helps them to feel relaxed and makes it easier for them to get through the day if they have something like gambling to have hope in.

12. 41.3 percent of gambling addicts have had anxiety disorders

Anxiety is a problem that has, finally, been getting much more attention around the world.

Anxiety often causes people to feel negatively about themselves, causes them to feel nervous in regular daily situations, and more.

Gambling is used as a coping mechanism, because it’s often something that they feel confident about and helps them to “escape” from the realities that they face with anxiety.

13. 60.8 percent of gambling addicts have had a personality disorder

Personality disorders include schizoid disorders, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and a variety of other issues in this regard.

Many times, people with these disorders need to feel like they can “beat the odds” and gambling is a way that they can get their fix in that regard.

And, as with the other disorders we’ve mentioned above, it provides an escape from the symptoms that they deal with on a day to day basis as well.

14. Gambling addiction chances increase exponentially with alcohol disorders

As mentioned above, alcoholism and gambling addiction go hand in hand because of how easily gamblers can get alcohol.

Here’s another side to that issue: alcohol actually decreases your inhibitions – which means that you are much more likely to take risks if you are inebriated.

There’s something to be said about feeling brave after you’ve taken any sort of drink.

Since evaluating risk is more difficult when you are drinking, you’re more likely to gamble – and gamble with the high rollers, too.

15. Anywhere from 12.5 to 29 percent of problem gamblers have PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an issue for people of all sorts of backgrounds, so it’s not surprising that so many people are estimated to be dealing with PTSD and dealing with a gambling addiction at the same time as well.

Casinos, bingo halls, and other locations where gambling is a big deal are where PTSD suffers may go to connect with other people, especially if they feel like they can’t really go anywhere else and feel safe.

16. PTSD sufferers often turn to gambling for refuge

The lack of control that people with PTSD feel on a regular basis can be hard – and many people with PTSD struggle with issues related to money to start with.

As a result, they will end up looking to options like gambling in order to feel better about themselves and to work toward the goals that they have in the financial realm, even though it’s not likely that they are going to actually see any sort of difference when it comes to trying to figure this sort of thing out.

17. Gambling causes immense financial ruin DAILY

There are more and more people who, because of gambling, end up dealing with financial ruin.

As the gambling addiction gets more and more engrained into what they are doing in their daily lives, it becomes harder than ever to figure out what needs to be done to make it better.

They end up going into debt and having a lot of credit issues that can make it difficult to go through their daily lives.

If people are into gambling and they are struggling with the effects of it, it is vital to figure out a way out so that they can have financial freedom later on.

18. Most gambling addicts relapse immediately

One of the hardest parts about recovery for gambling addicts is the fact that they need accountability and help in relation to getting past this very difficult part of their lives.

Addiction is something that people struggle with every single day, and gambling addiction is a sneaky addiction that can be easy to conceal from others.

Because gambling is so readily accessible and there are so many things involved in the recovery process, it’s not surprising that there are more and more people who are fighting to break out of this addiction on a yearly basis.

19. Often addicts become excessively financially dependent

The problem with gambling addiction is, even if you’re working out what needs to happen, you are going to find that it can be really hard to keep things together financially.

As a result, the people who are trying to deal with gambling addiction on a regular basis are in need of help financially.

Whether that means that they have absolutely no access to their finances, or that their necessary finances come from another source of some sort, it can be very difficult for the addict to deal with money.

20. Gambling addiction makes for a dangerous preoccupation with the activity

The activity of gambling can develop into a preoccupation that is hard to deal with, even for the addict.

That means that, no matter what is going on or how a person is trying to go through their day, they are thinking about gaming in some way, shape, or form.

That can inhibit them from doing the work that they’ve been hired to do, or it can make things difficult in regards to dealing with money.

This preoccupation could be the thing that destroys their life if they aren’t careful, and if they gamble with the wrong crowd, it could have devastating consequences.