Gambling Addiction

Gambling May 16, 2024

Gambling is risking something of value on an event that involves chance, in the hope of winning. It ranges from the buying of lottery tickets to laying odds on sports events or games of skill, like poker and blackjack. It can be done legally and illegally, by people with little money to those of great wealth. While some people can easily walk away from a game of poker or a handful of coins in a slot machine, others struggle to stop and may become addicted to gambling.

Gambling can have positive effects, such as socialization and skill development, but it can also be harmful if it becomes a habit. Problem gamblers can experience stress, depression and anxiety, which often leads them to try to find relief by gambling more, which makes the situation worse. They can also be tempted to hide their addiction from family and friends, lie to cover up the amount they spend or increase their bets in a bid to win back lost money.

In the past, the psychiatric community largely regarded pathological gambling as more of a compulsion than an addiction, but in the latest edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the American Psychiatric Association moved it to the addictions chapter alongside other impulse-control disorders such as kleptomania and pyromania (fire-starting). It is important for those who have a gambling problem to take steps to address the issue, including seeking help from a professional therapist, finding new ways to relieve boredom or distract themselves, getting rid of credit cards and limiting the amount of cash they carry.