Gambling Addiction


Gambling is wagering something of value on an event that is at least partly determined by chance with the hope of winning a prize. This can take the form of playing games of chance in a casino, betting on sports events, purchasing lottery or scratch tickets, even participating in office pools.

While gambling is an activity that most people can engage in occasionally for social or entertainment reasons without any negative consequences, it can also be a serious problem that leads to financial and personal problems. Psychiatrists use the term gambling addiction to describe an impulse control disorder that involves excessive and compulsive gambling behavior despite increased losses.

The cause of gambling addiction is multifaceted. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including the expectation to replicate an early big win, boredom susceptibility, a poor understanding of random events, the use of escape coping, depression and stressful life experiences. It can be hard to overcome these factors because they are often subconscious and reinforced by the media, which portrays gambling as fun, sexy, glamorous and fashionable.

Gambling has been around for centuries and was once a common activity in all societies. Although gambling is still a popular activity, it has been a source of controversy due to its negative effects on society and individuals. Historically, psychiatrists have classified pathological gambling as an impulse control disorder in order to help the legal system recognize the disorder and prosecute those responsible.