Whether buying a Lotto ticket, betting on sports events, playing the pokies or simply spending time at the casino, gambling is one of the most popular pastimes in the world. But it can also be extremely dangerous if done in the wrong way. It can be a fun and exciting activity, but it’s important to know the risks so that you can avoid them.
Gambling is wagering something of value on a random event with the intent to win something else of value, where instances of strategy are discounted. Historically, this has been done through dice and cards, but now it can be conducted online or over the internet. There are several reasons people gamble, including: for social reasons (such as meeting friends or having fun); to change their moods, particularly when they’re feeling down; because of the dream of winning a big jackpot; and to relieve boredom or stress.
Some people may become addicted to gambling and develop a serious problem. Compulsive gambling can affect anyone, but it’s more common among people who have depression or anxiety. They may lie to their family members and therapists about their gambling, even though they’re struggling; commit illegal acts in order to fund their addiction, such as forgery or theft; and jeopardize or lose a job, career, education, or relationship because of their gambling. These types of behaviors are called “disordered gambling.” They fall into a range of behavior that puts individuals at risk for developing more serious problems (subclinical) to those that meet diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). If you suspect someone you know is exhibiting disordered gambling, it’s important to get help as soon as possible.