A gambling addiction can cause significant financial and psychological problems. It can also strain and damage relationships. However, it is possible to overcome a gambling addiction and rebuild your life. The first step is to realize that you have a problem and admit it to yourself and your family. Once you do that, seek help from a mental health professional. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat gambling disorder, but several types of psychotherapy can be helpful.
In general, gambling involves the wagering of something of value on a random event with the intent to win something else of value. It is distinguished from recreational activities such as playing cards or a game of chance, which do not involve the same degree of risk. Gambling can occur in many forms, including lotteries, games of chance and skill such as poker, sports betting and horse racing. In addition, people may place bets on virtual events such as online gaming and video games.
The most common type of gambling is lotteries, which are often administered by state and federal governments. These games are usually low-odds, meaning that the chances of winning are equal for all players. Other low-odds include scratch-off tickets, charity raffles and bingo. Gambling can also take place at casinos, racetracks, online and over the telephone.
Many people develop a gambling addiction as a result of a mental illness such as depression or anxiety. These disorders can also be triggered by stressful events or by drug use. In addition, compulsive gambling can be exacerbated by mood disorders such as bipolar disorder.
Adolescents and young adults are particularly vulnerable to developing a gambling addiction. It is estimated that up to 5% of adolescents and young adults who gamble develop a gambling disorder. This is because they have more to lose than older adults and are more likely to be influenced by the actions of their friends and family members who also gamble.
In addition, adolescent and young adult gamblers are more likely to be exposed to gambling advertisements through the internet and television. They are also more likely to be able to access gambling websites from their mobile phones.
A symptom of gambling disorder is lying to family and friends about how much time and money you spend on gambling. Other signs of a problem include: being preoccupied by gambling, hiding evidence of your behavior, trying to make up for losses by increasing your gambling activity (chasing), and borrowing money from others to gamble. Some people even commit illegal acts, such as forgery and theft, to fund their gambling habit.