Gambling Disorders

Gambling is the wagering of something of value on an event whose outcome is determined at least in part by chance. In some instances, the gambler may employ strategy to increase his or her chances of winning. Gambling can be conducted with money or items of value such as marbles, game pieces (such as from a game of Pogs or Magic: The Gathering), collectible trading cards, and even food.

Problem gambling refers to the behavior of a person who has difficulty controlling his or her gambling activity, which negatively impacts other aspects of life such as physical and mental health, work or school performance, finances, and relationships. This is a serious issue that requires professional help.

Understanding of gambling and gambling problems has changed dramatically over the past few decades. In 1980, individuals who experienced negative consequences from gambling were viewed as gamblers with a problem; today they are considered to have a psychological disorder, similar to alcoholism and other addictions. This change in understanding has been reflected and stimulated by the changing clinical classification and description of pathological gambling in various editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.

There are several reasons why people may develop gambling disorders, including:

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