Gambling is wagering money or something else of value on an uncertain event whose outcome depends partly on chance. It may also involve activities involving skill (e.g., a game of cards). Some people enjoy gambling for the social desirability of doing it with friends and family, or the thrill and drama involved. Some people may use it to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as boredom, loneliness, stress or anger. It is important to seek help if you have problems with your gambling as it can harm many aspects of your life and those of those close to you. For example, it can cause depression, increase the risk of suicide and lead to financial difficulty, such as debt.
In the past, the psychiatric community generally regarded pathological gambling as more of a compulsion than an addiction. However, since the 1980s it has come to be viewed more like alcoholism. Indeed, in its latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the American Psychiatric Association moved it from an impulse-control disorder to an addiction.
There is a strong link between problem gambling and mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. These can both trigger and be made worse by compulsive gambling, so it is important to seek help if you have these problems. It is also important to seek help if you have any underlying health issues, such as high blood pressure. There are also other ways of relieving unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and practicing relaxation techniques.