Gambling Disorder

Gambling involves risking something of value (consideration) on an event with an uncertain outcome with the intent of winning something else of value. It’s a form of entertainment, and people bet money on events that may or may not happen, from the result of a roll of dice to the winner of a horse race. It’s possible to win a lot of money in the short term, but the house always wins over time, and it can be addictive.

Most gambling is done at casinos and other commercial gambling establishments, but some people also gamble in private settings. For example, family and friends often bet on football games or horse races to entertain themselves. They usually place bets with their own money and the wager is based on a mixture of skill, knowledge, and chance.

Gambling can become a serious problem when someone bets more money than they can afford to lose and makes repeated attempts to win back the lost money. The new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, includes gambling disorder under the category of behavioral addictions. Those with an uncontrollable urge to gamble should seek help from a trained therapist or support group. It’s helpful for those close to a problem gambler to set limits and make sure their bank account and credit card aren’t used to fund the addiction. If the gambler is unable to control their gambling behavior, they may benefit from inpatient or residential treatment programs.