Gambling involves risking something of value, such as money or property, on an event with a chance of winning a prize. The prize may be anything from a small amount of cash to a life-changing jackpot. It is important to gamble responsibly and never use money that you need for bills or rent. Gambling is often accompanied by unhealthy behaviors, such as lying to family members or hiding gambling from friends. Those with an addiction to gambling may also experience mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety.
Gamblers must decide how much to bet, which type of game to play and what ‘odds’ they will accept for their bet. The odds are a percentage of the overall possible outcome of the event and can be found on betting websites or in shops. For example, when betting on a football match the odds are displayed as 5/1 or 2/1 and determine how much you can win if your team wins.
Psychiatry traditionally classified pathological gambling as an impulse control disorder, a fuzzy label that includes such conditions as kleptomania and pyromania. However, in what is a major milestone for the field, the American Psychiatric Association has decided to move gambling into the Addictions chapter of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
If you think you or a loved one has a problem with gambling, it’s important to seek help as early as possible. This is because the sooner you get treatment, the more effective it will be. If you’re unsure where to start, try speaking with a family therapist who specialises in gambling addiction. You can be matched with a therapist on the world’s biggest therapy platform in just 48 hours.