Gambling is the act of betting on a game of chance, typically for a prize. It can be done in a casino, online or by playing with friends and family.
Problem gambling is a serious, addictive and unhealthy habit that can harm your physical and mental health, interfere with work or study, cause you to use up money and run up huge debts, ruin relationships and lead to homelessness. It can also lead to legal problems.
In May 2014, the American Psychiatric Association changed its diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling by placing it in a new category of behavioral addictions. This decision reflects a new understanding of how the brain changes in a person who becomes addicted to gambling.
The new category is similar to substance-related disorders in clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity, physiology and treatment. The APA based this decision on recent research findings showing that gambling disorder is more like drug addiction than was previously understood.
If you are a problem gambler, it is critical to stop immediately and take responsibility for your actions. This can be a difficult process but it is possible to overcome your addiction.
Often people gamble to self-soothe unpleasant feelings or relieve boredom. But there are healthier ways to relieve these emotions, such as exercising, taking up a new hobby or learning relaxation techniques. It’s important to seek help if you have problems with gambling because it can be linked to other issues such as anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.