Whether buying a lottery ticket, betting on sports or horse races, playing video games, or a quick game of poker with friends, gamblers are always taking a risk. Even if you win, the next time you play you could lose. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help control gambling problems. First, make sure your family finances and credit are safe. It’s also important to find a support system. Try talking to other family members who have struggled with this issue, or seek out peer support groups like Gamblers Anonymous.

In the past, people who experienced adverse consequences from their gambling were viewed as having character flaws, but today we have a much better understanding of what is really happening. Research in this area has led to the recognition that gambling is an addictive behavior. It has also resulted in the inclusion of pathological gambling (PG) in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.

The DSM-5 identifies ten criteria that indicate when someone has a problem. These include tolerance, withdrawal, preoccupation with gambling, lying to others about their gambling activity, chasing losses, and jeopardizing or losing a significant relationship, job, or education opportunity because of the gambling. Another criterion is that the person’s behavior cannot be better explained by a manic episode or other psychotic disorders. The Lord Buddha stated that gambling is a source of destruction in the Singalovada Sutra, and many Christian churches, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Iglesia ni Cristo, have formally condemned it.