Gambling is any game of chance or skill in which you risk something valuable in the hope of winning a prize. It may involve putting money in a slot machine or buying a lottery ticket; it could also include playing bingo, sports betting or office pools. The type of risk involved can vary from a small amount of money to a life-changing jackpot.

While some people enjoy gambling, others can become addicted to it. Gambling addiction is a psychological disorder that can be treated with therapy and other treatments, including medication. It can have a profound negative impact on your family, relationships, work and health. It can also lead to illegal activities such as theft and fraud.

The causes of compulsive gambling are complex, and you may have underlying mood disorders such as depression or anxiety that contribute to it. You may also have a tendency to gamble to avoid unpleasant emotions or as a way to socialize. It’s important to seek help if you have a problem with gambling, and try to find healthier ways to relieve stress and boredom.

There are many different types of treatment and recovery programs for gambling addiction, from self-help to inpatient or residential treatment. A therapist can teach you techniques to control your urges, and help you find healthy ways to relieve tension and cope with distressing feelings. They can also help you develop healthy spending and saving habits, and manage your finances so that you don’t gamble with money that you need for other essentials.

If you have a severe gambling problem, you might need round-the-clock support in an inpatient or residential program. You might also need to take action to protect your money and limit your access to it, such as removing credit cards, having the bank make automatic payments on your behalf, closing online betting accounts, or only carrying a small amount of cash with you.

You should also look for a treatment plan that addresses any underlying conditions contributing to your gambling problem, such as mental health issues or substance abuse. You should also consider seeking therapy for any problems caused by your gambling, such as financial or relationship difficulties. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for gambling addiction, and teaches you to challenge irrational beliefs and behaviors that contribute to your addictive behavior.

CBT can also teach you healthier ways to relieve stressful or unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation and mindfulness skills. And it can help you address underlying problems that might contribute to your gambling addiction, such as a lack of self-esteem or depression or an inability to deal with anger or sadness. You should also consider seeking treatment for mood disorders if you have them, as they can contribute to gambling problems. For example, depression can cause you to turn to gambling for relief and can also be a symptom of bipolar disorder. If you have a mental illness, it’s important to get medical help and support right away.