Gambling involves placing something of value at risk on an event that depends on chance. Typically, this takes the form of money or other assets. It also can involve a game of skill, such as a card game. People who gamble are hoping to win something of value, such as a prize or a jackpot.

If a person wins, they get a kick of dopamine, which makes them feel good. This encourages them to keep gambling, despite their losses. They often hide their activities and lie to family, friends and therapists about how much they are spending. They may even steal to finance their gambling. They often feel guilt, anxiety and depression about their behavior.

People who have a problem with gambling do not realize that their behavior is abnormal. They think they are in control and do not understand how gambling is affecting their lives. They tend to blame others for their problems and have difficulty recognizing the signs of a gambling disorder.

Gambling is classified as a behavioral addiction in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). It is characterized by the recurrent, pervasive, and chronic nature of the gambling behavior. It causes significant impairment or distress in the gamber’s life and relationships. It is associated with a predisposing and experiential basis in biological, psychological and social domains. Treatments for pathological gambling use a stepped care approach and incorporate self-report tools and medication.