Even though gambling is considered a “fun” activity, it can soon turn into an uncontrollable addiction, much like alcohol or drug dependency.

When gambling turns from enjoyment to addiction, it can ruin your life.

According to the United States National Library of Medicine, those who have issues with impulse control can easily develop a gambling addiction without realizing it.

Gambling addictions are often more common in people who have struggled with another form of addiction, such as alcohol or drug abuse.

There are any number of gambling addiction statistics that show how common gambling addictions are, and how it can negatively impact your life.

1. People with an alcohol abuse history are 23 times more likely to have a gambling addiction

In many cases, alcohol abuse and gambling addiction go hand in hand.

Studies have shown that people who struggle with alcohol addiction or have a history of alcohol abuse in their family history are 23 times more likely to become addicted to gambling.

Many people find that alcohol and gambling are connected; alcoholics who gamble use drinking as a form of support to celebrate their wins and drown out their losses when gambling, which is a common event in casinos where alcohol is free to those who keep gambling.

Those who are suffering from alcoholism and a gambling addiction find that therapy and medication can stem the impulse control that contributes to gambling addictions.

2. Percentage of American folks who have gambled each year: 80 percent!

When people try to escape their everyday lives, they most commonly find places that offer a chance to go out of the norm of their usual routine as well as a place that offers visual and mental stimulation.

In these cases, many people, as many as 80 percent, have admitted that they find casinos and online gambling sites as methods of satisfying that particular urge for entertainment.

Unfortunately, these events can become dangerous habits that can affect your daily life.

Monetary losses from gambling far outweigh the wins, which can lead to destructive behaviors that attempt to “make up” for what you have lost.

3. Around 5 gamblers out of 100 has a gambling addiction

Even though almost all of the people who have admitted that they have gambled at least once in their lives never win, they will also admit to indulging the fantasy of what would happen if they did hit that big win.

That possibility is often the trigger that will turn entertainment into an addiction.

Out of every 100 people who gamble on a regular basis, at least five of them have a serious addiction to it.

Having a serious gambling addiction can lead to many losses in your life, such as bankruptcy, loss of employment, and the destruction of personal relationships.

4. 750,000 individuals aged 14-21 are addicted to gambling

While gambling addiction is often viewed as an “adult” problem, recent research suggests that it affects young people as well as adults.

Over three-quarters of a million of young people aged 14 to 21 have a gambling addiction.

According to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, over 80 percent of teenagers aged 12 to 17 admit to gambling in the past year; more than 30 percent of them admit that they have gambled in the last week.

Based on the research, it is obvious that gambling is reaching youth as much as it is affecting adults.

Many adults, often parents of the gambling teens may see their gambling as harmless, not taking it as seriously as an alcohol or drug addiction.

Even though youth who gamble can start for innocent reasons, such as a friendly bet over a sports game, it can quickly escalate into an addiction.

5. Gambling addiction massively increases criminal inclinations

Many people with gambling addictions honestly do not think they are doing anything wrong, and they will report never having broken the law to gamble.

However, recent studies have connected gambling to an increase in criminal activity.

Researchers from Georgia State University report that those with a criminal record are far more likely to develop a gambling addiction than those who don’t have a criminal record.

There are many reasons for such a development.

Perhaps the person feels the same rush while gambling that they do when they commit a crime.

According to the study, about half of gamblers who have a criminal record will admit to committing crimes, such as theft or robbery, in order to find a way to keep gambling.

6. Gambling addiction increases chances of violent crimes

The debate between the connections between gambling addictions and the increase in violent crime is one that is hotly debated between pro-gambling and anti-gambling lobbies.

While crime is a global problem, the fact remains that many communities who have gambling casinos also saw a rise in violent crimes, particularly larceny and car theft.

According to the Washington Post, in most communities, these crimes saw a 10% increase in places that house at least one major casino.

A study conducted by researchers from Baylor University and the University of Illinois average that the increase in casinos directly correlates with the increase in crime rates.

These types of crimes don’t just affect those who lost their property or those who commit the crimes.

The same study also estimates that in counties where the crime rates increase because of the presence of casinos, additional public safety expenses can cost everyone in the population an average of $65.

7. A gambling addict may be suffering from mental disorders

Most people believe that gambling addictions are a form of risk-taking that develops into a major problem; while this may be true to an extent, many gambling addicts suffer from mental disorders or are suffering from pain in which gambling is a release.

According to BBC News, a woman turned to gambling as the grief over the loss of her son overwhelmed her.

While using gambling as a distraction isn’t always a bad thing, in those who are suffering from mental illness or a psychotic break, the distraction of gambling can turn into a full-blown addiction.

Many addictions arise from something that you feel that you are missing in your life or as a way to cope with devastating loss, but there is help available to those who need it.

There are healthier ways to grieve than through gambling.

8. Most gambling addicts are aged 20-30

While gambling addiction is a problem that can reach people of all ages, recent studies have shown that most gambling addicts are between the ages of 20 and 30.

There is no hard evidence as to why that is, but there are a few factors that can contribute to the young adult gambler.

First of all, there can be a newfound freedom associated with young adulthood.

It could also be connected to an increase in disposable income that many young adults have as they begin their careers.

The combination of freedom and new income in young adults can turn a pastime into an addiction.

9. In American colleges, over 6 percent of students gamble regularly

Gambling addictions are also common in college students.

According to the National Center for Responsible Gambling, over 6% of college students gamble on a regular basis.

When college students become regular gamblers, it can severely impact their lives, creating mental health issues, suffering grades, and insurmountable debt.

The research suggests that younger adults have trouble controlling their impulses which can attract them to an addiction to gambling.

This connection to impulse control can also contribute to college students indulging in other risky behaviors, such as alcohol and substance abuse.

Although 6% of college students report having a gambling addiction, the research suggests that most of them will grow out of the problems as their mental state matures, but some continue the addiction into adulthood.

10. Gambling addiction can be a side-effect of PTSD

It has been proven that gambling addicts often have another mental illness that can contribute to their impulse to gamble.

The connection between gambling and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been studied closely, and those who have PTSD often become compulsive gamblers.

There are other risky behaviors that they also indulge in, such as alcohol and drug abuse, self-mutilation, and eating disorders.

One particular connection between gamblers who suffer from PTSD, especially servicemen and former servicemen, is that the rush from gambling not only provides the same feeling of danger that they used to endure every day, but it also provides a distraction from the mental symptoms of the condition.

11. 34 percent of gambling addiction treatment seekers have PTSD

Studies on the connection between gambling and PTSD prove that 34% of gamblers have PTSD.

Many men and women who have gambling addictions also have a range of other mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

When gamblers are diagnosed with both a gambling addiction and a disorder such as PTSD, it is very important to find a treatment facility that can treat both issues at the same time.

Finding the underlying cause of the psychological condition that is causing the addiction and the mental illness is the key to recovery.

12. Gambling addiction leads to mental illnesses

Over one-third of gamblers who are seeking treatment for their condition have also shown signs of having post-traumatic stress disorder.

While PTSD is not the only mental illness that many gamblers may have, there is a common behavioral connection between those gamblers who have mental illnesses.

Gambling can provide a focus or a distraction from those who have been suffering from depression, anxiety, or other emotional disorders.

In fact, gambling can itself lead to mental illness.

The behaviors expressed in gambling, the satisfaction of reaching a mental high, easily fades which can bring on other types of mental instability in trying to satisfy the urge to satisfy the next high.

13. Antisocial behavior and gambling addiction are related

Considering that most gambling occurs in public spaces such as casinos, you wouldn’t think that gambling would qualify as an antisocial behavior.

However, there is scientific evidence that antisocial behavior is linked to gambling addictions.

Having multiple addictions, such as alcohol abuse and a gambling addiction, at the same time is a sign of co-occurring disorder which is characterized as addictions that work together that can present as a form of antisocial behavior.

According to a study published in the United States National Library of Medicine, people who show examples of antisocial behavior, such as psychopathic inclinations and aggression, are more likely to become low-risk to pathological gamblers.

Luckily, these behaviors can be treated with therapy and medical intervention.

14. Gambling is just as addictive as substances

Gambling addiction has been connected to other addictions, such as substance abuse.

Those who suffer from a gambling disorder to such an extent that it completely overtakes their lives were called pathological gamblers, but as of 2013, the terminology has changed.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, pathological gambling is now known as gambling disorder which is treated with the same methods as substance abuse.

With research, the American Psychiatric Association has identified the same characteristics in both gambling addiction and substance abuse.

With proper treatment, both gambling addicts and substance abusers can find relief from their addictions.

15. Gambling addiction affects the mind just like substance addiction

Much like substance abuse, many gambling addicts feel the mental stimulation that gambling provides.

Substance abusers use drugs and alcohol as a way to numb pain or distract themselves from their mental disorders, and they spend their time trying to feel that way again.

It is the same with gambling addicts; the same mental satisfaction between the rush of winning a bet or beating the odds is very similar to substance abusers who chase their next high.

Gambling addiction is just as serious as other addictions to drugs and alcohol.

With proper diagnosis by a physician and treatment through a professional therapist can help you understand why you gamble and how you can prevent relapse.