Gambling Disorders


Gambling is a popular form of entertainment that involves betting money or other goods on a chance game, usually involving a prize of some kind. Some people wager on a variety of events, such as horse races and sports contests. Many jurisdictions make gambling illegal, while others allow it. The gambling industry is estimated to be worth about $335 billion in 2009. In some countries, such as the United States and Canada, it is legal. However, many jurisdictions ban gambling or regulate it heavily.

Gambling is an activity that can be fun, exciting, and social. But, it also has the potential to be addictive. You must consider your reasons for gambling before you engage in it. This can help you avoid problems.

While gambling can be a way to relieve stress, it can also lead to financial difficulties and problems. Gambling is considered problematic when it interferes with work, relationships, or school. There are several types of counselling for problem gamblers. Counselling can provide an accurate diagnosis, and can also help you find a solution.

Adolescents are more at risk for developing problem gambling. They may start gambling earlier in life, or they may be more likely to gamble with friends or with their pocket money. Problem gambling can cause negative effects on the lives of adolescents, such as social alienation, loss of home or family, or poor academic performance.

Adolescents who exhibit pathological gambling may lie to their families about their gambling. They might also take out loans or credit cards to pay for gambling, hide their behavior, or use savings to finance their gambling. They might also become obsessed with their gambling, which can lead to theft or fraud.

Gambling disorders have been shown to run in families. As a result, family members can play a role in helping an adolescent recover. Parents or other concerned family members can seek counseling, and they can also participate in a support group with peers who have suffered from gambling disorder.

Although there are no medications on the market for treating gambling disorders, there are therapy programs for patients. These include group therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. People who suffer from gambling disorders can benefit from physical exercise, which can decrease their stress and promote positive change in their behaviors.

Pathological gambling is the most common form of gambling disorder. It can be defined as “persistent gambling behavior, or a combination of gambling and other behaviors that lead to a significant impairment in functioning.” Symptoms may develop at any age. Often, they begin in adolescence, but can appear in other ages.

If you or a loved one has experienced a gambling disorder, contact the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). There are also state-run helplines for problem gamblers. Your physician can also refer you to an organization that provides counselling for gambling-related issues.

To learn more about treatment, visit the American Psychiatric Association. Gabbard’s Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders (5th edition) is edited by Glen O. Gabbard, M.D.