Gambling is when you put something of value at risk on an event that has some element of chance in it, such as betting on football matches or buying a scratchcard. The outcome will be decided by luck, and can range from a small prize to a life-changing sum of money. If you win, your stake is returned to you, and if you lose, you lose the money you bet on.
You can gamble in many ways, including on the lottery, at a casino, in a racetrack or on a sports event. There are also online casinos and apps that allow you to bet on games like roulette, blackjack and poker. You can even place a bet on a horse or sports event by texting, using an app or via a live streaming service.
There are a number of warning signs that you might be gambling too much, including lying to family members or therapists about the extent of your involvement, withdrawing from social activities or hiding money, and relying on other people to finance your gambling. If you have a problem with gambling, you should seek professional help as soon as possible.
A variety of factors can contribute to problematic gambling, including genetics and the environment in which you grow up. Certain brain regions are involved in weighing risk and reward, and individuals who are predisposed to thrill-seeking behaviour may be at higher risk of developing a gambling disorder. In addition, some families have a history of gambling addiction, and you may be influenced by shared thoughts or values from your culture.
A relapsing pathological gambler has difficulty controlling their gambling behavior and experiences severe distress or problems in their lives. Typically, relapsing pathological gamblers are in denial of their problem and try to hide it from others. They often experience withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety or depression. They may have difficulty making decisions and are impulsive. They often feel a strong urge to gamble even when they know they are at high risk of losing. They may spend excessive amounts of time gambling and have problems with their relationships, work or studies. They may even engage in illegal acts such as forgery, fraud or theft to fund their gambling habits.