Gambling Addiction


Gambling involves risking something of value on an event that is determined at least in part by chance and with the intention of gaining something of greater value. It can involve anything from buying a lottery ticket to betting on horse racing or casino games. It can be for profit, to escape from stressful life events or even as a form of entertainment. For some, gambling becomes a problem when it stops being fun and starts to cause harm.

The term ‘gambling addiction’ is often used to describe a pattern of behaviour that develops when someone becomes hooked on gambling. People with this condition may have difficulty controlling their gambling, are preoccupied by it and spend more time and money on it than they intend. They can also experience problems in their personal relationships and in their employment. They may hide their activities and lie to friends and family about how much they gamble or about how they are spending their money.

Gambling is an activity that has a long history and has had a number of peaks of popularity. It was a feature of Wild West culture, on Mississippi riverboats and in frontier towns, and it became a popular pastime in the 1800s. When moral conservativism took hold in the United States, however, it caused a dramatic decline in gambling. It is now only legal in a few states and is generally not viewed as socially acceptable. Understanding of the adverse consequences of gambling has undergone a significant change in recent years, and pathological gambling is now considered to be a mental health disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association.