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Pathological Gambling

Gambling involves a risking of money or other value on an event whose outcome is determined at least in part by chance. This can include playing card games like poker or blackjack in a private setting, betting on sports events such as football matches or horse races within a social circle, or buying lottery tickets, scratchcards, or other forms of gambling. It can also be a form of entertainment, and may provide an enjoyable way to pass time.

Although there are many positive aspects of gambling, there is also a risk that it can become harmful, especially in people who are vulnerable to addictive behaviors. For example, it can cause financial problems, affect relationships, and lead to poor health and work performance. It can also cause emotional distress and depression. It can be difficult to stop gambling, even if it is making you unhappy. You might feel secretive about your gambling and lie to family or friends, or you might try to find ways to cope with unpleasant feelings by putting yourself at risk by continuing to gamble or spending more money than you can afford to lose.

Pathological gambling is a complex disorder, and it is unclear whether it is a form of addiction. A wide range of opinions exists among researchers, psychiatrists and other treatment care clinicians, and public policy makers about the nature and causes of this disorder. These differences stem in part from the fact that different disciplinary backgrounds, experience and world views shape perspectives on these issues.