Gambling is a form of entertainment, a hobby or a game in which something of value is staked on the outcome of a contest of chance or on a future contingent event not under the player’s control or influence. This term does not include bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts, such as the purchase or sale at a future date of securities or commodities, an agreement to exchange money for goods or services, and life, health or accident insurance (American Psychiatric Association 2000).
People gamble for many reasons: to have fun, to socialise, to escape from their problems, or to win big money. But for some, it can become a problem. People who feel that gambling is out of control can find help by seeking treatment, joining support groups, or trying self-help tips.
Various factors can contribute to compulsive gambling, including:
There are no medications specifically designed to treat gambling disorder, but there are treatments for related mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Counselling, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, can be used to help someone with a gambling addiction by challenging their beliefs about betting and how they behave when they are tempted to gamble. For example, people with gambling addictions may believe that certain rituals can bring them luck or that they can always win back their losses.