Problems related to compulsive gambling often do not get the same recognition as being destructive as is commonly associated with other addictive or compulsive behaviour. The problem with this being that issues can go unrecognised for long periods of time and opportunities and sources of support are much less available.
In general addictive and compulsive behaviour is generally misunderstood and one of the inherent dangers within that is to assume that such behaviours are willfully engaged in and are entirely voluntary.
Gambling can be a dark secret that a person is hiding. It can bring despair and deep shame and a sense of being completely out of control. Vast debts can quickly build and the need to dig oneself out of a hole can descend into further and further desperation.
Trends of behaviour may differ between men and woman - the increase in online facilities that target woman or men specifically increase temptation and ease of access greatly, thus increasing vulnerability.
To understand the condition of gambling and how it has taken hold, one needs to look at a persons history of associating to gambling and explore how it became established. Gambling behaviour will often mask other life issues that need to be dealt with and are being avoided and in establishing as such a process of understanding and treatment can emerge.