Gambling is the wagering of something of value on a random event with the intent of winning something else of value. It can also be an activity that involves skill, such as playing card games, board games or sports betting. People gamble for a variety of reasons, including social, financial, and entertainment purposes.
The majority of adults and adolescents who gamble do so without any problem, but a small percentage develop pathological gambling, which is diagnosed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as an addictive disorder. It is often comorbid with other types of addiction, such as substance abuse and/or depression. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of gambling disorder, so you can get help if needed.
There are several different approaches to researching the impact of gambling. Some research studies use a cost-benefit analysis approach that measures changes in well-being, while others consider only the monetary value of harms and benefits. Most studies, however, do not take into account the non-monetary aspects of these impacts.
It is important to only gamble with money that you can afford to lose. Never gamble with money you need for bills or to live on, and don’t try to recoup your losses by betting more money. Instead, find other ways to have fun and feel good about yourself, like playing a team sport or joining a book club. You can also strengthen your support network, or seek help from a professional counselor. You may also want to try a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous.