Gambling is betting something of value on an event that has some degree of uncertainty (for example, a football match or scratchcard) with the hope of winning money or other prizes. It excludes bona fide business transactions, such as buying and selling securities or commodities, contracts of indemnity or guaranty, and life, health or accident insurance.
While most people gamble in moderation, some can become addicted to gambling and lose control of their finances and personal lives. Problem gambling can lead to depression and other mental health issues. It can also cause relationship problems and job loss.
If you suspect that your loved one has a gambling addiction, it is important to seek help. A professional can help you understand the issue and provide treatment or support groups. It is also important to set boundaries with your loved ones about how much time and money they can spend on gambling. You can also try to avoid triggers, such as socialising with friends who gamble or watching gambling related TV programmes. It is also useful to seek help for underlying mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
In the past, psychiatry classified pathological gambling as an impulse-control disorder, similar to other conditions such as kleptomania and trichotillomania (hair pulling). However, in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the APA has moved compulsive gambling into the addictions chapter. This is a move that many in the field have supported.