Gambling Disorders

Gambling involves placing something of value on an event whose outcome is determined by chance, with the intention of winning something else of value. It can include games in which skill can improve the odds of winning, but it also refers to more passive events like betting on sports, lottery numbers, or scratchcards. While many adults and adolescents gamble without problems, a small subset of them develop gambling disorder, which is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as persistent, recurrent problem gambling that causes substantial distress or impairment.

People gamble for a variety of reasons, including social reasons, financial rewards, the anticipation of a big win, or the desire to escape boredom or stress. However, research suggests that some people are more vulnerable than others to developing gambling disorders. Vulnerability factors include the size of an early big win, boredom susceptibility, impulsivity, a poor understanding of random events, and use of escape coping.

There are many things you can do to help prevent gambling addiction or manage it if you already have a problem. For example, only gamble with money that you can afford to lose, and never with money that you need for bills or rent. You should also try to avoid casinos and other venues where gambling takes place, and try to limit the amount of time you spend on your computer or phone. Finally, you should consider joining a gambling support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous.