Gambling involves betting money or something of value on an outcome based on chance. The prize can range from a small amount to a life-changing jackpot. Some people gamble as a way to earn money, while others do it for entertainment purposes or to relax. If you are concerned about a friend or family member’s gambling habits, seek professional help immediately. It is estimated that one compulsive gambler affects at least seven other people. These can include spouses, children, extended family members, friends, and co-workers. Those with a problem gamble often spend more money than they can afford to lose, which can cause financial ruin.

There are many ways to treat gambling addiction, including psychotherapy and self-help strategies. Individual and group psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can help identify and modify harmful thinking and behavior. Other techniques, such as motivational interviewing, can turn ambivalence about quitting into motivation to quit. Self-help strategies that can help you stop gambling include avoiding situations where you might be tempted to gamble, setting up an emergency fund, and staying away from alcohol and other drugs. Some people find success with support groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous.

People who have a gambling disorder may experience difficulty with impulse control and delaying gratification. In addition, they may have poor money management skills. People with a gambling disorder may also experience anxiety and depression, which can increase their risk of gambling. It is important to get treatment for these conditions, as they can have a negative impact on family life and work performance.

In the United States, there are over 1,000 licensed casinos and more than 1,500 charitable gambling organizations. These organizations raise over $90 billion annually. Approximately three to four percent of people report problems with gambling, while one to two percent have serious problems. In addition to causing financial loss, gambling can lead to depression, stress, and relationship difficulties. People with gambling disorders are more likely to be single and divorced or separated, and they may spend more time on gambling than on other activities.

While there is no medication available to treat gambling disorders, certain medications can help with underlying mental health conditions. In particular, the antidepressant escitalopram has been shown to decrease anxiety in people with a gambling disorder and co-occurring depression. It is also recommended to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and sleep well.

Getting professional treatment for gambling addiction can make the difference between living with financial uncertainty and being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Call our hotline any time at to speak with a trained specialist. You can also access resources and tips on our website. Ultimately, it is crucial to surround yourself with supportive friends and family and to seek out new activities that don’t involve gambling. In addition, you can enlist the help of an online support community and a trained therapist or counselor.