Gambling is the act of placing a bet on an event with the intention of winning something of value. The events can be random, like a lottery ticket or an airplane landing, or they may involve some degree of skill. In the latter case, a game of poker or horse racing, for example, is considered gambling in many countries. However, some forms of gambling are considered illegal by governments. These include casino and racetrack gambling and lotteries.
The Journal of Gambling Studies is an interdisciplinary forum for research and discussion of all aspects of gambling, both controlled and pathological. It is published by the American Psychiatric Association and covers a wide range of disciplines, including psychiatry, psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and criminology.
Pathological gambling is a serious problem that can cause severe and lasting effects on one’s personal, professional and family life. Although there is no single definition of pathological gambling, the term is usually applied to people who engage in frequent, uncontrollable, impulsive and risk-taking behavior related to gambling, despite having negative consequences. It is also associated with a variety of other problems, such as substance abuse, depression and anxiety.
Symptoms of pathological gambling include: (1) spending more than you can afford to lose; (2) losing control of your finances; (3) lying to friends, family and therapists about how much you gamble; (4) chasing your losses (trying to win back money lost in previous bets); (5) engaging in illegal activities such as fraud or theft to finance your gambling habit; (6) jeopardizing or failing to meet important obligations because of your gambling behavior; and (7) relying on others to fund your gambling or to replace what you’ve lost;
It is very difficult to overcome a gambling addiction alone. Reach out to your support network, and consider joining a peer support group. There are many groups available, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also find support through your church, work or school.
Identify the triggers that prompt you to gamble. It’s important to understand what motivates your urges, so you can develop a plan for avoiding them. For instance, some people gamble to self-soothe unpleasant emotions or relieve boredom. It is important to find healthier ways to do this, such as exercising, spending time with supportive friends, or practicing relaxation techniques.