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Case Study of Addiction-Gambling

Case Study of Addiction-Gambling

Alissa is a 24-year-old college student. She confesses that she is a compulsive gambler. Gambling makes her feel alive and feel like nothing else matters. She has to keep gambling because she knows that she will hit the jackpot at some point. She doesn’t think that her way of thinking is irrational. She always loses, yet she still believes a jackpot is waiting for her. She doesn’t want to admit that she is addicted because that is a harsh word to describe her situation.

A conversation between Alissa and her boyfriend (Adam) shows Adam urging Alissa to get a job. Adam is frustrated because he feels like Alissa is not trying hard enough to get a job, so he has to bear the financial burden for both of them.

Alissa frequently stops at her parent’s house to look for food and money. She uses her parent’s credit cards to fuel her addiction. She has also bounced back more than $5000 in checks. When asked about some of her expenditures, she denies having any knowledge of any of them. Her mother claims she doesn’t sometimes gamble because she doesn’t have money. Alissa argues that she shouldn’t have any job or money because she’ll use it to gamble. Later in the episode, it is revealed that Alissa stole from his father by transferring money into her online gambling accounts.

Alissa was involved in a near-fatal car accident five years ago. She had reconstructive face surgery twice after that. As a result, she thinks she looks bad, so she spends hours applying makeup every day. She, however, reveals that she does not care how she looks when she is gambling. She says that she would rather look bad when gambling so that no one bothers her or talks to her. Alissa’s mother reveals that Alissa doesn’t have a lot of confidence in herself and that she changed after the accident. She is more obsessive and makes rash decisions. Alissa says that she finds solitude when gambling. Alissa’s father thinks that Alissa gambles because she is in pain. Alissa reveals that the first time she won was a very good feeling. She says that she can win more now.

Adam confesses that Alissa’s gambling puts him through a lot of pain, especially when his efforts to help are against him. Alissa’s gambling alienates Adam. Adam feels rejected and expendable as Alissa chooses to gamble over him. An intervention to control her gambling is met with resistance from Alissa.

Gambling disorder is categorized under the substance-related and addictive disorders in the DSM-5. It is characterized by recurrent gambling behavior. Additionally, patients often have symptoms such as impulsive behavior. Disordered gambling also entails gambling with larger amounts of money to achieve the same satisfaction level. Other criteria for gambling also include repeated unsuccessful efforts to control the gambling, depending on others for gambling funds, escaping from a dysphoric state through gambling, and interference in major life functioning areas. The inclusionary criteria for gambling disorders require only 4 out of 9 criteria (Potenza et al., 2019). Alissa meets all five of the criteria stated above.

As the episode goes on, Alissa admits that she thinks she has a problem. She realizes that she loses every time and doesn’t listen to other people’s opinions. She sometimes feels depressed and has even thought about suicide by overdosing on pills. Generally, this often happens when she has lost so that she doesn’t have to face everyone and tell them what has happened. Gambling disorders can co-occur with other psychiatric illnesses, such as mood disorders. Lastly, studies have shown that gambling is associated with new-onset mood disorders (Pilszyk et al., 2018).


Pilszyk, A., Silczuk, A., Habrat, B., & Heitzman, J. (2018). Difficulties to differentiate mood disorders co-occurring with compulsive gambling. Discussion based on a case study. Trudności różnicowania zaburzeń nastroju występujących w przebiegu zaburzeń uprawiania hazardu. Rozważania na bazie opisu przypadku. Psychiatria polska52(1), 45–54.

Potenza, M. N., Balodis, I. M., Derevensky, J., Grant, J. E., Petry, N. M., Verdejo-Garcia, A., & Yip, S. W. (2019). Gambling disorder. Nature reviews. Disease primers5(1), 51.


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After viewing the episode on the above video, choose to discuss either Alissa or Brian for this assignment.
Then, write a short synopsis of the case (no more than 600 words). This synopsis will identify which case they have selected and what the apparent relevant addictive issues are presented. Although a bit of a retelling of the story, it will serve as the written basis for the remainder of the assignment.

Case Study of Addiction-Gambling

Case Study of Addiction-Gambling

You are to include at least two academic references that you have researched on this topic in the Excelsior Library and use appropriate citations in the American Psychological Association (APA) style.
You cannot just do a Google search for the topic! Academic sources are required. You may use Google Scholar or other libraries.

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