Gambling involves risking something of value on an event with a random outcome, such as the result of a lottery or football match. It can occur in casinos, racetracks, and lotteries as well as online or in private settings. It may be legal or illegal, depending on the national context and specific circumstances. Pathological gambling (PG) is a mental health disorder characterized by maladaptive patterns of behavior involving gambling. PG is a subset of the broader category of behavioral addictions. It is included in DSM-5, which is the psychiatric classification system developed by the American Psychiatric Association.
The first step in treating a gambling problem is admitting that you have a problem. This can be difficult, especially when you have lost money or strained relationships as a result of your gambling. Seek professional help. Your doctor or therapist can help you recognize the symptoms of a gambling disorder and suggest treatment options. These might include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to change unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts, such as rationalizations and false beliefs. Therapy can also teach you coping skills for managing your gambling urges and solving financial, work, and relationship problems caused by compulsive gambling. In severe cases, residential treatment and rehab programs are available.