Gambling is an activity that involves putting something at risk in the hope of winning. People gamble for a variety of reasons, including the desire to socialise, win money and escape from stress or anxiety. However, if gambling becomes a problem, it can lead to financial and emotional problems. It is important to know if you are suffering from gambling disorder so that you can seek help and find treatment. The symptoms of gambling disorder include lying to loved ones, hiding money or spending more than you can afford. It can also affect personal relationships and cause depression or anxiety. In addition, it can trigger suicidal thoughts and be a contributing factor to suicide.
Gambling has both negative and positive impacts on society. These impacts can be observed at the individual, interpersonal and community/society levels (Fig 1). Positive long-term effects of gambling include economic benefits. This includes money spent on gambling that can be redirected to beneficial activities such as public services or environmental protection.
Negative long-term effects of gambling include loss of personal and family life, debt and homelessness. Gambling disorders can be caused by a combination of factors, including genetics and coexisting mental health conditions. It is also linked to personality traits such as addictiveness and reward seeking. Gambling can also send massive surges of dopamine through the brain, but this is different to the pleasure received from healthy activities such as eating a meal with a loved one or exercising.