Gambling Disorders

Gambling involves risking money or something else of value on a future outcome that is based on chance, such as winning the lottery. It is common for people to gamble for fun and as a social activity, but some people develop gambling problems. These problems can have serious effects on their lives. These problems include financial loss, family conflict, and addiction.

While most adults and adolescents engage in some form of gambling, a small number become severely involved. This group is characterized by their use of gambling behaviors that meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) criteria for pathological gambling. They continue to gamble despite substantial negative personal, family, work, and financial consequences. Other features of this group are downplaying or lying to family members and relying on others to finance their gambling behavior.

Problem gambling is most prevalent among lower-income individuals, especially young people. In addition, males are more likely to have problems with gambling than females. The development of a gambling disorder is also associated with personal and family history, gender, and certain personality traits, including depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders.

Fortunately, there are treatments for gambling disorders. The first step is acknowledging that you have a problem. Getting help is easier than you think. BetterHelp matches you with licensed, accredited therapists who are experts in treating gambling and other issues like depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Start with a free assessment and get matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours.