Gambling and Gambling Problems


Gambling is the act of placing bets on events or outcomes that are determined by chance. It may involve betting on a football match or buying a scratchcard, where the odds are set by a betting company. The outcome of these events is unpredictable, and it is a risky activity.

The Psychiatric Association has recognized pathological gambling as a mental disorder since 1980 (American Psychiatric Association, 1981). In the DSM-5 version of the manual published in May 2015, the term “pathological gambling” was moved from the impulse-control disorders chapter to the addictions section.

A gambling problem occurs when you spend more money or time on gambling than you have earned, lose control over your finances, and can’t stop playing despite negative consequences to yourself and your family. It can lead to serious problems in areas such as relationships, work, and finances.

People who have gambling problems should seek help for any underlying mood disorders or substance abuse issues that may be causing them to gamble. These problems will continue to affect their lives even if they don’t gamble anymore.

They should also seek help from their doctor, therapist or other health professional. They can recommend medication or treatment programs that can help them cope with their symptoms.

Many different theories and models have been developed to explain why people engage in gambling. These include behavioral-environmental reasons, a general theory of addictions, and the reward deficiency syndrome. These theories and models can be helpful in developing research, intervention, and public policy strategies.