Gambling Disorders


Gambling is the act of betting money on something of value with the expectation of winning. Although gambling is a widely accepted form of entertainment, it can have an addictive effect.

The prevalence of problem gambling among youth is unclear. However, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression has funded grants to conduct research on this topic. Other sources of information indicate that the probability of developing gambling problems is higher among younger individuals.

While most youth will gamble occasionally, a small number will gamble excessively. If you are experiencing gambling problems, contact a counselor or other mental health professional. These professionals can help you understand your situation and find a solution.

Compulsive gambling is a mental disorder that can affect both men and women. It is associated with high levels of suicidal ideation, and is often linked with depression and anxiety. In addition to stress, it can lead to embarrassment and other negative consequences. Generally, people with gambling problems experience difficulty with money and other aspects of their lives. They may also develop debt in order to pay for their gambling.

The risk of compulsive gambling is greater in middle age and older adults. Men are more likely to begin gambling at a younger age, but many women begin gambling later in life. Aside from being physically dependent on others for money, the gambler may lie to conceal their involvement in the activity. He or she may even use savings and debt in an effort to keep gambling behavior a secret.

Several types of therapy are used to treat gambling disorders. These include family therapy, counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and group therapy. Counseling is confidential, and support from friends can be vital in recovery.

Gambling can be a positive experience when conducted responsibly. This involves understanding the odds and knowing when to stop. But gambling can become a problem if it starts to interfere with your relationships, school, or work.

During the late twentieth century, state-licensed lotteries expanded rapidly in the United States and Europe. Many jurisdictions heavily regulate gambling. Commercial establishments may organize the activity and acquire a portion of the money wagered by patrons. Whether the wager is legal or illegal, it is important to understand the risks involved.

Because gambling is an addictive behavior, it can be difficult to overcome. There is no FDA-approved medication to treat gambling disorders. Medications for other co-occurring conditions may be helpful.

Adolescent problem gambling is the persistent behavior of gamblers during the adolescent years. The symptoms can be present during adolescence, but can also begin in adulthood. Symptoms can include a lack of control over the gambling behavior, and may result in the alienation of family members.

If you or someone you know is concerned about gambling, you can call a National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). You can also seek counseling, which is available 24/7. Depending on the severity of the gambling issue, the counselor can provide information about how to prevent and stop gambling.