Gambling involves risking something of value (money, property, or even one’s life) for a possible event with an uncertain outcome. It can be fun and exciting, but it can also lead to financial problems.
People gamble for many reasons, including the desire to win big, change their mood, or socialize with friends. Some people find it difficult to control their gambling habits, which can cause them serious harm. In some cases, the problem is so severe that it warrants medical attention and treatment for a gambling disorder.
Pathological gambling is a psychiatric disorder that can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. It can cause serious psychological, emotional and financial difficulties. It is often accompanied by other mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety. It can also cause family, work and personal relationships to suffer.
People with a gambling disorder may exhibit a number of symptoms, including:
Experiencing cravings; being unable to control gambling activity; lying to family members, therapists or employers about how much time and money they spend on gambling; chasing losses, which leads to bigger and bigger losses; and using illegal methods to finance gambling, such as forgery, fraud, theft or embezzlement (American Psychiatric Association 2000).
It is important to remember that gambling is not a way to make money, and it can be dangerous to your health. To help avoid a gambling addiction, it is helpful to set spending and time limits for yourself, and not to use your entertainment budget or phone bill money. It is also a good idea to find other ways to relieve unpleasant emotions, such as exercising, spending time with non-gambling friends, or practicing relaxation techniques.