Gambling gives people a thrill. There are many ways to gamble including the weekly lottery, raffles, bingo and horse racing. For most people it is a bit of harmless fun but for others it can be the start of a terrible addiction. The gambler has a compulsion to gamble more and more to get the best hit. Not everyone that gambles becomes an compulsive gambler. So why do people become addicted to gambling?
Factors That Contribute to a Gambling Addiction:
- Stress – in many addictions stress is a common factor and gambling is no exception. For those with family rifts, bereavement, work problems and money worries gambling can be a relief. The relief might be short lived but the consequences can become a vicious cycling that is almost impossible to end. All the stress related problems can be compounded as the loss of money and time away from your family and work begin to take their toll.
- Filling the time – for those who are lonely with lots of time on their hands it is a way of socialising and filling the time.
- The hit – gambling is thrilling and the adrenalin rush that you can get from taking part in is fantastic. However, it is a pass time that can quickly become addictive and the consequences are very damaging to their lives.
- Ease – nowadays it is very easy to gamble. You are bombarded with advertisements, the smartphone has become a quick, convenient and secretive way to bet. Lottery tickets, scratch cards and bingo are all seen as innocent fun but the ease of buying these so called fun items can lead to ruin and possibly different types of more hard core gambling.
- Mental illness – it is estimated that gambling addicts are more likely to suffer from depression and alcohol addiction.
- Chemicals in the brain – through research it has been discovered that more of the pleasure chemical in the gamblers brain, dopamine, has to be realised to gain the same feeling of pleasure as before and this can increase the risk of addiction.
Treatment and Help for a Gambling Addiction
A gambling addiction is hard to recognise, both for the gambler and their friends and family. With very few physical symptoms, a tendency for secrecy and denial there are less signs to look for. There are some behavioural factors that can indicate an addiction such as spending more time alone, getting into debt, frequently asking to borrow money and putting their gambling before family and responsibilities.
Treatment can be administered through medication and / or cognitive behavioural therapy. Treatment should be started as soon as possible and the addicted gambler needs to admit they have a problem.