Gambling involves risking something of value on an event whose outcome is largely determined by chance in hopes of winning a prize. People gamble for a variety of reasons, including socializing with friends, improving their skills, and experiencing a rush or “high.” But gambling can have negative effects on your life as well. The good news is that it is possible to get help for a gambling addiction, and there are many ways to break the habit.

Most people associate gambling with casinos and racetracks, but it takes place in a wide range of locations, from gas stations to church halls. Online gaming, fantasy sports leagues and scratch tickets are also forms of gambling. Gambling is considered a dangerous activity by some, and it has been linked to crime, political corruption, and positive and negative economic and social impacts.

Some people gamble for the excitement and euphoria it produces, but others do it for financial reasons. They might dream of winning a jackpot and retiring on a private island. Or they might simply enjoy the feeling of putting a bet on a game and watching the numbers rise. Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand why people gamble so you can take steps to protect yourself from the harmful effects of gambling.

The most significant step to breaking the habit of gambling is admitting that you have a problem. This can be difficult, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money or strained or broken relationships due to your gambling habits. But you can take action to combat your gambling addiction by strengthening your support system, practicing stress management techniques and taking control of your finances.

If you’re struggling with a gambling addiction, BetterHelp can help. Our online therapy service matches you with licensed, accredited therapists who can help you manage depression, anxiety, relationships and more. Take our free assessment today, and you could be matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. With BetterHelp, it’s never been easier to overcome a gambling addiction and rebuild your life.