Gambling is a wager on an uncertain outcome in exchange for something of value. It is practiced in casinos, lotteries and online. It can be a fun, social or a way to escape stress or boredom. However, people can be addicted to gambling and it can negatively impact their mental health.
It is important to recognise if you are gambling beyond your means and seek help for it. If you are lying to your family about how much you gamble, borrowing money or spending time on gambling when it is affecting your relationships, work, education or health, then you may have a problem. Often, this is due to personality traits and coexisting mental health conditions. It is important to remember that you cannot control how lucky you are. If you gamble, the odds of winning are not in your favour. It is also important to only gamble with disposable income and not money that needs to be saved for bills or rent.
Pathological gambling is a serious issue that affects the lives of many people. It can cause depression, anxiety and poor physical health. It can also be financially devastating and leads to bankruptcy, relationship problems, homelessness, unemployment and even suicide. It is the only behavioural addiction recognised by the American Psychiatric Association in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and it should be taken seriously. It is time for researchers and governments to pay more attention to this growing concern.