Gambling Disorders

Gambling is the act of placing a bet on an event with the hope of winning money. It can be done in brick-and-mortar casinos, online, or through other forms of entertainment such as horse racing or football matches. There are many types of gambling, and prizes can range from a small amount of money to a life-changing jackpot.

For some people, gambling can be a fun pastime that gives them a rush of excitement when they win. But for others, it can cause serious problems that affect their mental and physical health, family relationships, job performance and studies, and even lead to bankruptcy or homelessness.

The American Psychiatric Association has developed criteria to help identify problem gamblers and listed gambling disorder in the latest edition of its diagnostic manual, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). According to the DSM-5, people who have gambling disorders need to spend increasing amounts of time gambling, frequently experience an urge to gamble, and lie to others about their spending habits.

There are no FDA-approved medications to treat gambling disorders, but counselling can help people understand their gambling behavior and consider options for stopping it. It can also address co-occurring conditions like depression or anxiety, which may trigger gambling and make it more difficult to stop. Support groups for gambling addiction are another good option, such as Gamblers Anonymous or Gam-Anon, and exercising and seeking social interaction can also help. It is also important to remove temptation, by getting rid of credit cards, having someone else in charge of your finances, closing online betting accounts, and only keeping a limited amount of cash on you.