Gambling is a serious addiction that can totally shatter the lives of those who suffer and those around them in many ways.
Those who gamble normally do so under the guise of money gained easily.
Gambling addiction can affect someone’s health, finances, and relationships with others.
What is Gambling Addiction?
Gambling is not just something that happens in a casino or behind the bright lights of a slot machine. This addiction can manifest in the form of scratch cards and lottery tickets.
Technology also means that gambling can be easily accessed online and at the push of a button.
When gambling, someone will bet stakes on an outcome in the hope of gaining more money in return.
Science of Gambling
When someone wins a gamble, the brain rewards that person with a rush of positive emotions or endorphins.
These endorphins are what makes us feel happy. When someone wins a gamble, they receive a boost of the chemicals which can make them feel good mentally and leaves a person chasing the feeling afterwards.
This addiction does not start overnight. It is known as a “progressive” condition as it slowly becomes worse over time.
Someone who suffers from a gambling addiction could have mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety or OCD that can inflame the gambling cycle.
The Spiral of Gambling Addiction
As mentioned above, a gambler will make bets to win something, whether that’s money or any other reward.
When they win, they receive happy endorphins, which push the person to bet again in the hopes of getting another win.
If they win, the endorphins can make them feel happy, euphoric, and powerful. The more someone wins, the more likely they are to place bigger, more high-pressure bets that they cannot afford to lose.
Ever heard of the old saying, what goes up must come down?
No matter what a Gambler says, they have more losses than wins. It’s just the way it goes.
However, in this phase of the cycle, a person may find themselves thinking about their next gamble or how to fund their next gamble.
When losing, a person may lie to their friends and family, and their behaviour may change. They may become irritable, angry, aggressive, or distant and start borrowing money to fund their addiction.
Many gamblers who are losing try and win back what they lost and find themselves exhibiting self-destructive behaviours.
When someone shifts into this phase, they tend to spiral by gambling more often or betting with higher stakes in a bid to win and start clawing back what was lost.
Some may start taking drastic measures to fund their gambling. This can include borrowing money with no means of repayment, stealing from loved ones and getting involved in illegal activities.
During the desperation phase, a person’s mental health is likely to worsen due to the pressure and grief they feel about gambling.
The longer someone stays in this phase, the worse their behaviours and actions will tend to get.
In some cases, gambling desperation can become extreme until they win and return to the first phase all over again.
Does this sound like yourself or someone you know? If so, take a look at our blog for more helpful information, or consider speaking to Dr Nick directly for immediate, professional advice.