Gambling addiction appears when a person who has fun playing a game of chance that offers him the chance to win, takes the desire to continue playing at an extreme level. Instead of being a pleasant hobby, the addict feels compelled to play and usually risks everything to continue playing even when losses accumulate.
Gambling addicts are not in control of whether they will play or not. These compulsive players feel euphoria when playing, and continue to do so to feel the euphoria over and over again. Both online gambling and the forms of these real-world games, such as poker, can be very addictive.
What is gambling addiction?
The compulsive desire for gambling, also called pathological gambling or gambling, is the uncontrollable urge to continue playing and gambling despite the negative consequences associated with gambling in the life of the addict. The game or a bet is characterized by the desire to risk something of value in the hope of obtaining something of even greater value.
The game can stimulate the brain’s reward system like drugs (alcohol for example), and leads to addiction. A person prone to gambling, is going to bet continuously, is going to hide his behavior, is going to run out of savings, is going to accumulate debt, or can even resort to theft or fraud to continue his addiction.
Compulsive gambling is a serious disease that can destroy lives. Although the treatment of gambling can be difficult, many compulsive players have found help through professional treatment.
The signs of gambling addiction
If you or someone you know is exhibiting the following types of behaviors, a game addiction may be the cause:
- Become defensive if someone expresses concern about their game habits
- The loan of money, the sale of goods, or steal to keep betting
- You feel anxious or depressed when you can’t play
- Increased frequency of play activity
- Lying about the amount of time you spend playing gambling, the amount of money you are betting, and how much you have lost
- Placement of larger bets, over time, if you are winning or losing, if the amounts you bet are more than you can reasonably afford to lose
- Leaving work or missing family life to play without telling others when they are going to play
These are just some of the symptoms of gambling addiction, but they are the most indicative of a serious problem.
The causes of gambling addiction
The causes of this type of addiction can be difficult to pinpoint. There may be a hereditary component and people who have a close relative with gambling addiction may be more likely to develop this diction.
There are also many factors that can contribute to the development of a gambling addiction, including the desperation for money, the desire to experience different emotions, the social status associated with being a successful player, and the entertainment environment of the gaming venues. Unfortunately, once a game addiction develops, breaking the cycle of gambling and betting is difficult. Severe gambling addictions can develop when someone feels financially desperate and wants to win what they have lost. Once the person finally wins, and although he can collect a large amount of money from that victory, it is rarely enough to cover what he has already lost. Most players do not even approach a point of balance between what they lose and what they win.
Some research has found and other things that can cause gambling addiction, such as:
- Emotional immaturity
- Friends and partners who are involved with gambling
- Low self-esteem
- Work or live near bingo halls, casinos, etc.
- Stress and lack of a good means to release it
- Traumatic experiences
You may think that winning a large sum of money or a prize is a good thing for a person who has a gambling addiction, since he is able to recover some of his losses. However, it is actually a negative event for that individual because he experiences a great adrenaline rush created by the thrill of winning, and he is going to want to repeat the experience. The gambling addict can play his winnings trying to win again.
Consequences of gambling addiction
Possible consequences of gambling addictions include:
- Problems with relationships, including the removal of children and other loved ones, separation and divorce
- Criminal charges if the addict is stealing or selling drugs to finance his activities
- Debts caused by losses or to continue playing
- Job loss
Help and Treatment for gambling addiction
The first step to getting help is to recognize the symptoms and admit that you have a problem. A 12-step program can be effective. Another option when you need to stop gambling is to consult a therapist who has experience with treatment for this type of addiction, which is cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches clients how to identify their cravings for play and replace them with cravings for more positive activities.
Recovery and rehabilitation of gambling addiction
Stop playing is just the first step. Total recovery involves avoiding the places where the game is present and finding new friends who do not give in to this activity. It is also necessary to find new strategies to deal with stress, as this can cause a relapse. Talk to other former players to share experiences, find strength and support.