Gambling is an activity where you risk money or belongings and the outcome is based on an element of randomness or chance. It can include gambling on sports, lottery tickets or accumulators, betting on business and insurance and speculation on the stock market.

Some people gamble to self-soothe unpleasant emotions and unwind or socialize with others. These behaviors can be healthy for some, but can also lead to problems if they become habitual or compulsive.

If you or a loved one is suffering from gambling addiction, seek help immediately. Call a helpline, attend a support group or meet with a counselor.

Getting help can be hard but it is worth the effort. Talking to a professional will help you learn about the impact of your behavior and give you tools to stop or prevent gambling.

Reducing your gambling: Make a plan to change how you spend your money and control your impulses. Set limits on how much you can spend and what you can buy with it.

Learning to relax: Exercise, take up new hobbies, or practice relaxation techniques can help you deal with stress and reduce the need for gambling. It can also improve your health, increase your eye-hand coordination and boost your intelligence.

When you are struggling with a gambling problem, it can be helpful to see your family or friends who have been through it. They can provide encouragement and support as you work to overcome your addiction.