Gambling is the activity of risking something of value in order to win it. It is an enticing activity to many, but it can be a source of serious financial and emotional trouble for some. There are also negative effects to physical health and social relationships.

Problem gambling is a disorder, and its symptoms can begin as early as adolescence. It is more common in older adults and in men, but can affect young people as well.

In addition to being a source of significant financial and emotional trouble, gambling can have adverse physical and psychological impacts on a person. For example, it can harm performance at work and studies. It can also lead to homelessness and suicide.

To treat a gambling disorder, you can try several approaches. Some involve counselling. Others include family therapy and group therapy. Medications may be used to help with co-occurring conditions.

Many people have successfully gotten over their gambling addictions. However, it can be difficult to recognize that you have an issue. Admitting that you are an addict can be painful and will put a strain on your relationships.

You can try a self-help approach to stopping gambling. Visit the National Helpline for more information. Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

If you are suffering from gambling addiction, do not feel alone. Support groups can offer you peer support, which can be important in recovering from your addiction. They are available 24 hours a day. A former addict can offer advice and encouragement. Also, consider taking education classes or volunteering for a good cause.

Your doctor can perform a gambling assessment, which will include criteria from the DSM-IV-TR. While it is not diagnostic, it will provide you with information you can use to stop gambling. Alternatively, you can take part in a recovery program like Gamblers Anonymous. These programs are patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous.

Counseling can also be a valuable way to learn more about your gambling problems. Several organizations, including the National Center for Responsible Gaming, are dedicated to helping people with gambling problems. The organization is supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Using non-monetary materials can be effective in treating gambling disorders. Taking part in relaxation and other activities can also be helpful in relieving boredom. Spending time with friends who are not involved in gambling can also be beneficial.

Keeping a limited amount of money to spend on gambling is another way to help. Avoid using credit cards. Make sure to keep automatic payments on your bank account.

Even if you are not in financial trouble, it is still recommended that you avoid gambling. It can cause serious debt and leave you with poor relationships.

It is also a source of social anxiety. Gambling can be a social event for some, but for others it can create stress and depression. It is important to be honest about your gambling behavior and its consequences.

Admitting that you have a problem is an important first step in getting help. Once you are ready, you should seek counseling. This can be confidential and free of charge.