While gambling is widely available throughout the United States, it has also been suppressed by law in some areas for centuries. In the early twentieth century, for example, gambling was virtually outlawed throughout the country, and the gambling industry spurred the growth of the Mafia and other criminal organizations. In the late 20th century, attitudes towards gambling softened and laws were relaxed. However, gambling remains an issue in many areas of the country, including Native American territories.
While gambling can help people escape unpleasant emotions, it can also be a sign of depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Many people with compulsive gambling also suffer from other mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and personality disorders. While compulsive gambling is typically seen in younger people, it can occur in adults of all ages. In order to overcome the problem, a person must learn to control their urges and recognize the causes of their gambling behaviour.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has published criteria for identifying pathological gambling. Several mental health professionals have adopted this criteria. In order to be eligible for the Gambling Disorder category, an individual must have repeatedly failed to control their gambling behavior. The criteria for the diagnosis include: