Gambling Disorders

Gambling involves placing something of value on a random event in the hope of winning something else of value. The estimated amount of money legally wagered on gambling games each year is about $10 trillion worldwide (illegal gambling may exceed this figure). Many people gamble for a variety of reasons. Some gamble for fun or to socialize with others; some do it to relieve stress, to change their mood, or because they dream of a huge jackpot win. Most people gamble without developing a gambling disorder.

Nevertheless, some people become preoccupied with gambling and start to experience problems. Problem gambling can have serious consequences, including damage to relationships and financial difficulties. Symptoms of problem gambling include an urge to gamble, loss of control, and compulsive gambling. People with gambling disorders are at risk of depression, stress, and substance abuse, which can make the problem worse. They also have a higher suicide rate than the general population.

Practicing self-control can help people avoid gambling triggers. It is important to find other ways to spend time and money. Try going for a walk, calling a friend, or doing some other activity that is not gambling related. It is also helpful to set a budget and stick to it. Avoid using credit to gamble and stay away from casinos, sports books, and other gambling-related places and activities. If you do decide to gamble, set a time limit for how long you want to play and leave when you reach it, whether you are winning or losing.