Gambling Disorders

Gambling is an activity in which something of value (usually money) is staked on an event with an element of chance or skill, and the potential to win a prize. Examples of gambling include lottery tickets, poker chips, bingo, sports betting, slot machines, instant scratch-off tickets, horse racing and dice. Gambling can occur in a variety of places, including casinos, racetracks, sporting events, and on the Internet.

Many people are able to gamble responsibly, without problems. However, some people develop a gambling disorder. Gambling disorders can cause serious harm, such as financial difficulties, family problems, and health issues. They can also have a negative impact on work, school, and personal relationships. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat gambling disorders, but counseling can help people understand their problem and learn coping skills.

Many factors can contribute to the development of a gambling disorder, including genetics, environment, and culture. For example, some families and communities consider gambling a normal pastime, making it harder for them to recognize when the behavior is causing a problem. The comorbidity of gambling disorders with other mental illnesses and addictions has also been a contributing factor. People with a gambling disorder often try to hide their problem or lie about how much they gamble, which can make it hard for others to recognize that there is a problem. People with gambling disorders may also experience depression or anxiety, which can make it even more difficult to stop gambling.