Gambling Disorders – Is Gambling a Disease?


Gambling involves placing something of value (money, goods or services) on an event whose outcome is determined by chance. Whether they’re playing slots in a casino, buying lottery tickets, betting on sports or even playing bingo, most adults and adolescents have placed some sort of bet at some point in their lives. Depending on the type of gambling, some people may even be at risk of developing a problem with their gambling.

In the past, psychiatric professionals tended to view pathological gambling as an impulse control disorder along with other conditions like kleptomania (stealing), pyromania (burning things) and trichotillomania (hair-pulling). However, in what many are viewing as a major shift, the Psychiatric Association decided to move pathological gambling into the addictions chapter of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

This decision was based on new research showing that problem gamblers have biologically-based brain disorders. These brain changes are associated with impulsivity and difficulty regulating emotions. As a result, a person may feel the need to continue gambling in order to experience pleasure, and they have a hard time recognizing when it’s time to stop.

While some critics argue that this classification is too narrow and does not fully capture the complexity of the disorder, many support the move because it shows that gambling is no longer simply a choice but a disease. As a result, those who suffer from this disorder will now be more likely to receive the help they need.

Gambling is an activity that can bring a social element to groups of friends and family. This is especially true of casino games, where the strategy involved in winning can be a bonding experience. The socialization that can come with gambling is not the only benefit to this activity, however, as it can also be a fun way to relieve stress and tension.

Another benefit of gambling is that it can have a positive impact on local economies. This is because gambling brings people into the area, which can boost tourism. It can also serve as a source of revenue for local government agencies. In addition, it can create jobs and help local businesses grow. Those who oppose gambling, however, argue that these benefits do not outweigh the negative impacts of gambling.