Gambling is the betting or staking of something of value, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain. It can involve betting on a game of chance or an uncertain event in which the outcome depends on the bettor’s choice, but does not include events where skill is involved (e.g., sports, horse racing, lottery).
People gamble for many reasons – to change their mood, relieve boredom, socialize with friends, or escape from problems. For some, gambling can become problematic and interfere with daily life. People with a gambling problem may:
They are unable to control their gambling, despite attempts to do so. They have difficulty recognizing that their gambling is causing harm, and tend to deny that it is. They might hide their gambling activities, lie to family members or therapists about it, or spend more money than they can afford to lose.
Those with serious gambling problems might seek treatment in an inpatient or residential program. They might also seek help from a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous. They might also try to manage their financial difficulties by finding other sources of income or cutting back on other expenses.
Many gambling disorders are diagnosed using a clinical interview. Typically, the person will be asked about their gambling history and how it has affected their lives. The interview will also look at any other mental health issues the person might have, as these can make them more likely to develop a gambling disorder.