Gambling and Gambling Disorders


Gambling involves betting something of value against a random event. This can be a game of chance, a sporting event, or card games. In most countries, state-licensed lotteries are very popular.

There is some evidence that gambling is associated with mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Problem gamblers may also experience stress and anxiety.

During the late twentieth century, state-operated lotteries in the United States and Europe expanded rapidly. These establishments often acquire a large portion of the money gambled by patrons.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association lists Gambling Disorder as one of the addictive behaviors. However, the DSM does not include any medications specifically designed to treat this disorder.

Behavioral therapy for problem gambling is available. Many mental health professionals use DSM criteria to diagnose this disorder. Therapists and counselors offer individual and group sessions for gambling problems. They can also work with families and partners of problem gamblers to help them cope with the behavior.

Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous have former addicts who can give guidance and share their experience. Practicing relaxation techniques can also ease boredom.

Excessive gambling can lead to legal problems, financial troubles, and even suicide. A person’s family and friends may feel ashamed of their loved one’s gambling behavior.

Family and friends should offer support and encouragement to their loved one. A family member can be the key to successful recovery.