Gambling Disorder


Gambling is a form of entertainment that involves risking money or other material goods on the outcome of an event, such as a sports match, a lottery draw, or a scratchcard game. Regardless of the type of gambling, there are a number of risks that can be associated with this activity, including addiction and mental health issues. While most people who gamble do so for fun, some may become addicted to the activity and suffer from significant adverse consequences. Those who develop a problem with gambling can experience a range of negative impacts that affect their family, work, and social life. The impact of gambling can also have a negative effect on the community and society at large.

One of the most important factors in preventing or treating gambling disorder is understanding how it occurs. The underlying causes of gambling problems can vary from person to person, but some common factors include an early big win, boredom susceptibility, impulsivity, use of escape coping, and a history of stressful life experiences. Problem gambling can affect individuals from any background, age, or gender and can be found in small towns or major cities.

There are a number of different types of gambling, but the most common is betting on sports events. This is done by matching a choice of bets with ‘odds’, which are the probability that an event will occur. For example, you can bet on a football team to win, or on a horse race. The odds are displayed on the screen and can be viewed before placing a bet.

In the past, pathological gambling was often compared to substance dependence, due to its symptoms, which included a preoccupation with and an obsession with gambling, difficulty controlling it, and continuing despite adverse consequences. Despite this, the differences between these disorders have been pointed out by critics of the DSM, who argue that there are several important methodological differences that must be taken into account when determining whether gambling disorder is distinct from other addictions (American Psychiatric Association, 1980). Nevertheless, since 1987 changes to the DSM criteria have been made to emphasize the similarities between gambling and substance dependence. These changes reflect a desire to be more scientific in the determination of appropriate diagnostic criteria for gambling disorder, and to avoid middle-class biases. These changes have also influenced the way in which gambling disorder is incorporated into legal regulations. Gambling can cause impacts at personal, interpersonal and community/society levels, which affect those who are not gamblers themselves. The personal and interpersonal impacts usually involve costs that are invisible to others, such as the cost of a gambling habit to family members. In addition, the community/society level impacts are usually monetary and include costs and benefits that can be general or specific to problem gambling. These costs can include a decrease in community cohesion, economic losses, and health and wellbeing impacts. The impacts can be short-term or long-term and can pass between generations.