How to Gamble Responsibly and Keep Your Gambling Disorder in Check


Gambling is the act of placing something of value (typically money) on an event with a chance of winning a larger prize. This can include lottery tickets, cards, dice, slots, machines, instant scratch-offs, horse racing, sports events and other games of chance. While many people enjoy gambling for fun, some become addicted and find that it negatively affects their life. A gambling disorder can lead to financial ruin, family problems, work difficulties and even legal troubles. If you have a problem, seek help.

In the past, the psychiatric community generally classified pathological gambling as a compulsion rather than an addiction, a fuzzy label that also includes such impulse-control disorders as kleptomania, pyromania and trichotillomania (hair-pulling). But in its latest update of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the APA moved the condition into the same chapter as other addictions, including alcoholism and drug addiction.

Although the etiology of gambling disorders is still unclear, there is increasing evidence that a combination of biological and environmental factors contributes to the development of problem gambling. In addition, some researchers have linked gambling to psychosocial factors such as depression and poor social support systems. Others have examined the impact of certain medications and stressors on gambling behavior.

Whether you love playing the slots, blackjack, or the roulette table, there is a way to gamble responsibly and keep your addiction in check. You should set limits before you play. Start with a fixed amount of money you are willing to lose and stick to it. Gambling is not a good way to make money; it should be for entertainment only. Always remember that you will most likely lose, so don’t expect to win every time. Also, don’t spend more than you can afford to lose, and leave when you reach your time limit.

Another tip is to avoid gambling when you’re upset or depressed. This can lead to irrational thinking and poor decision making. Lastly, don’t chase your losses. This is called the “gambler’s fallacy.” The more you try to get back what you have lost, the worse your losses will be.

The first step to becoming a better gambler is realizing that you have a problem. It takes tremendous strength to admit this, especially if you have lost a lot of money or strained relationships. Seek help if your gambling is having a negative effect on your life. Getting professional help is the best way to stop the cycle of addiction and get your life back on track.