Psychology of gambling and addiction, Uncontrolled betting urge guide, Gaming tips, Casino developments

Psychology of Gambling and Addiction

17 Jun 2021

Psychology of Gambling and Addiction

Over half of the world’s population indulges in gambling at least once in their lives. This rate is constantly growing thanks to technological advancements like mobile and desktop gadgets that allow players to visit casinos with a few clicks. Most people who pick up the activity are thrilled by the pleasure and potential winnings often broadcast in marketing campaigns.

While gambling offers a fun diversion for millions globally, it has also inspired a dangerous compulsive behaviour in some that mature into pathological gambling.

The relationship between gambling and addiction has been an interesting phenomenon studied for decades. The rise of the internet has sent more psychologists to understand the issue to curb its rapid adoption.

Gambling Addiction

The uncontrollable betting urge was labelled an impulse instead of an addiction in the past. Experts believed that people with this condition simply used the games as a convenient escape from the stress and anxieties of the real world. However, they could not figure out why it would stop being enjoyable and manifest as a raging compulsion. This intense craving continued even when the gamblers learned that game designs are meant o lose more than win. It was finally concluded that the games use hidden hooks that prey on the minds of casual punters and gambling addicts.

Genetics, neuroscience, and genetic studies recently pointed out the many similarities between gambling addiction and drug dependency. The research collected data on brain alterations when the pastime starts becoming a compulsive need and found that it is tied to the reward system.

Too much gambling exposure leads to developing a circuit series linking to the cranium, which is connected to the areas responsible for motivation, memory, movement, and pleasure. Anytime the reels spin or the winning hand is revealed, the transmitters release dopamine, causing joy and satisfaction. This dopamine can be released in large quantities when stimulated by the bright visuals and potential payouts.

The continued indulgence of such betting keeps the brain constantly awash with dopamine, robbing it of the power to induce euphoria due to built-up tolerance. Pathological gamblers frequently have the irresistible urge to take more enormous risks seeking euphoria since standard dopamine has lost its effects. Just like a cocaine addict will go to extremes for a more significant dose chasing a high, gambling addicts will take risky pursuits, sinking deeper into the habit.

Risk Factors

While neurology explains the science behind compulsive gambling, psychology and genetics reveal the factors within and without pushing one into the habit. The circumstances are unique to each individual, and they often fall in any of the following common categories:

  •  Family history and genetics

Genetics have a significant role in shaping our habits, and they can make some people more susceptible to addictions than others. Some of these individuals naturally have reward circuits that are permanently underactive, causing them to seek big thrills voluntarily, gambling being one of them. In most cases, such people come from a family where many members are victims of addiction. Such players do not have to indulge in the games for too long for them to get hooked.

  •  Age and gender

The younger generations are at a higher risk of gambling addiction than the older ones due to more exposure to the habit. Also, men have a higher chance of picking up the habit than women since the industry mainly targets them as potential clients.

  •  Mental disorders

Underlying mental conditions can magnify one’s gambling focus, making it riskier for them to fall victim to addiction. Studies show that most pathological bettors have Parkinson’s disease. This condition dries up the dopamine-producing neurons. Treatments are available to reverse the issue, but they change patients into dopamine junkies, and some end up in casinos chasing the happiness drug. Depression, OCD, bipolar disorder, and anxiety are other mental issues that can nurture the addiction.

  •  Environment

Most people adopt the habits in their surroundings, and people surrounded by others who gamble all the time are likely to become addicts themselves. The convenient access to online games makes them easy to seek after exposure without interacting with other people. Without supervision, the habit will nurture into a compulsion.

  •  Personality traits

People that are easily bored, workaholics, restless, and impulsive are most likely to become gambling addicts. Highly competitive players can be driven into an obsession to beat the house even with the odds stacked high against them.

Gambling Addiction Signs

Gambling turns from a fun leisure activity into an addiction when it develops into repetitive destructive behaviour patterns. These habits can result in physical, mental, and personal distress, making it challenging to live without them. The urge to visit a casino and play games build up into severe magnitudes and the feeling is only relieved after doing so. Other signs that characterize the addiction include;

  •  Constantly thinking about gambling almost every moment of every day;
  •  Overspending in bets and chasing wins even after the designated bankroll runs out;
  •  It becomes a challenge controlling how often you reach for your phone or PC to gamble, even after being intentional with wanting to quit;
  •  Lying about the extent of the habit;
  •  Having financial problems and resorting to stealing or borrowing to keep up the habit.

Dealing with The Problem

Gambling addiction can be overcome with the proper measures applied consistently. The first and most crucial step is to accept the issue’s existence. Most addicts deny their dependence on casino games and use justifications like misinformation, minimization, and glorification.

Getting over the addiction requires players to admit they have a problem despite how uncomfortable it makes them. Commit to change and adopt new daily motions to help you achieve sobriety. Delete all casino accounts and avoid people that would inspire you to get back to the habit. Replace your crowd with people who support your cause, such as online gambling support groups.

If leaving the addiction behind proves challenging, get expert help. Ask around and research professional mental health professionals that can help you overcome the problem. Inform loved ones of your decision so that they can help you avoid triggers or snapbacks during craving episodes.

Psychology of Gambling and Addiction Overview

Gambling addiction is like dependency on any other substance to function – some days are easier to manage than others. Be intentional about your desire to remain sober, and don’t stop trying even if you fail a couple of times.

The article was written with the help of an authoritative source – a startup company focused on free pokies, mainly in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

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