The act of gambling is older than even civilisation itself. As long as private property has existed, people have gambled their possessions in hopes of increasing them. But with the risk of losing what people own, comes a thrill that’s followed by a feeling of joy once the possession isn’t lost, and that thrill can easily lead to addiction. Because our brains are hardwired to enjoy rewards, and gambling always offers the illusion that we’ll be rewarded in the end, many people have gambled all their belongings and promptly lost them.
Gambling is a serious issue, and if you think you may have a problem with it, consider approaching a professional to get help on how to stop gambling.
Types of Gambling
Because of the availability of gambling, it may appear at first glance that gambling is simply gambling and nothing more. But in truth, there’s a wide variety of options to consider when it comes to gambling, so that means there isn’t only one form. Some of its forms are slot machines, cards, lottery tickets, raffles, and even bets with friends. All of these forms of gambling almost always come from a deep-rooted feeling of financial ruin, and a feeling that gambling is the best way to improve the financial situation.
Causes of addiction
Breaking the cycle of gambling is difficult, but not impossible. It has to be understood what causes it, so that it can be treated best. It may be due to desperation for money, or maybe because of the thrill of gambling. Sometimes it’s the social status – because successful gamblers are perceived to be of higher status – or sometimes even the entertainment and atmosphere that precedes gambling.
Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
The symptoms are similar to other addictions, but they still need to be clearly understood.
- Overly secretive about gambling
- Lack of control over gambling habits
- Gambling even without being able to afford it
- Everyone expresses concern over gambling
- Emotional problems like anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts
- Sleep deprivation
- Weight loss, acne, dark circles under the eyes
Effects of Gambling Addiction
As with any other addictions, there are short- and long-term effects of this vice. Gambling affects physical and mental health, and is usually followed by other addictions that are used as coping mechanism. Drugs and alcohol go hand-in-hand with gambling, and even if the gambler doesn’t experience financial ruin due to gambling, they will still feel the need to reduce the stress of gambling. Also, all relationships are permanently damaged by gambling.
That can be a hard achievement for anybody, but it’s far from impossible. The first step is recognising there’s a problem, and then asking for help and support. With the help of a support group, friends, and sometimes even a professional, quitting from gambling can be a very possible thing. Perseverance is key because quitting can be long and arduous, and relapsing back into gambling can happen almost without realisation. But with the right approach and help, overcoming this vice is possible over time.