Gambling is an addictive behavior that can lead to severe problems, especially for people who cannot control their gambling. Problem gambling is a type of addiction that involves repeated attempts to control an urge to gamble. While some forms of gambling may be considered harmless and socially acceptable, others may be considered dangerous. To help determine whether gambling is a problem, mental health professionals have developed specific criteria that can be used to diagnose the problem. This manual, published by the American Psychiatric Association, lists gambling disorders alongside other addictive behaviors.
Problem gambling is often associated with family members or friends and is a form of impulse-control disorder. It often begins in adolescence and worsens later in life. Men tend to start gambling earlier than women, and men are more likely to engage in compulsive behaviors as they age. Problem gambling can be extremely damaging to a person’s physical, social, and emotional well-being. It may even lead to attempts at suicide.
While gambling may help people escape unpleasant emotions, it is dangerous to use money to satisfy one’s addiction. A gambling habit can also damage a person’s relationships and finances. The most effective method to avoid gambling is to use cash or a debit card. Most major credit card companies will bill your gambling activity as a cash advance and charge interest on the amount borrowed. Furthermore, using a credit card to pay for an activity that you enjoy will have negative effects on your credit score.