Gambling Addiction


Gambling involves wagering something of value (money or materials) on a random event in the hopes of winning something else of value. It is distinct from insurance, where risk is transferred in exchange for a premium, and from games of chance like dice or card decks, where skill can influence outcomes. Some gambling is social, such as playing card or board games for small amounts of money with friends or buying lottery tickets to support a friend’s sports team. Other types of gambling are more serious, such as professional betting or casino gaming.

Some people are unable to control their gambling. This can lead to significant financial problems and even personal distress. It is important for those who suspect they have a problem to seek help immediately. Several types of therapy have been shown to be effective in treating gambling disorders. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and group therapy. Inpatient and residential treatment are also available for those who have severe gambling disorder that cannot be managed with outpatient care.

Many people who gamble do so for fun and enjoy the excitement of a possible jackpot win or dreaming about the euphoria associated with winning big. However, gambling can also be a way to alleviate stress or take their mind off other problems, and it can provide an escape from everyday life. For some, it may even be a way to meet unmet needs such as feelings of belonging or self-esteem. Regardless of the motive, gambling can have many negative effects and should be treated as a serious addiction. For this reason, it has recently been moved from the DSM-5’s sub-classification of mood disorders to its own section on behavioral addictions.