Anatomy Of An Addiction - Why do some people become addicted to gambling?

Anatomy Of An Addiction - Why do some people become addicted to gambling?

In the UK alone, over 400,000 people suffer from a gambling addiction and it's estimated that another two million are at risk at any given time.  An addiction to gambling can be just as harmful as that of drugs or alcohol and can lead to destitution, mental health issues and a sufferer resorting to crime to fund their habit.  In this article, we’re going to examine some of the reasons that a gambling addiction may occur and, how to spot the signs. 

All in the mind

Experts tell us that an addiction to casino games (kaszinok online) is all about the brain’s ventral striatum which i commonly referred to as ‘the reward center’.  This is the part of our brain which seeks to gain reward from activities.  It’s thought that gambling addicts are often shown to have a deficiency in the ventral striatum which leads them to a susceptibility to addiction. 

Studies show that when an addict ‘almost’ wins a game, he or she experiences a high similar to that experienced when they actually do win - and these near misses spur them on to try again in order to score that elusive win.  While a regular gambler may experience similar emotions, he or she will know when it’s time to stop, whereas an addict will feel compelled to continue gambling - even if that means spending their rent money.  It’s also suggested that gambling addicts are usually people who are also impulsive in other areas of their lives. 

What does a gambling addict look like ?

Spotting the signs of gambling abuse in a loved one can be tricky, but there are a few things that you can look out for and, some of these are: 

  • Agitation - A sufferer will often appear anxious and will have difficulty concentrating at work or in a social situation
  • Movement - A gambling addict will tend to run a lot of errands or make excuses to spend time in their room alone
  • Money - He or she will often be short of cash and may frequently ask for loans
  • Additional addiction - The sufferer might be drinking or taking drugs excessively in order to numb themselves against their gambling losses
  • Secrecy - The gambling addict might seem unusually secretive, for example, closing their laptop whenever anybody comes close

While these are some fairly common symptoms, many addicts become extremely adept at hiding their habit, making it difficult to spot the warning signs.  Adding to the problem is the fact that many sufferers feel shame regarding their addiction which prevents them from getting help. 

What to do to help ?

If you suspect that a loved one is in the grip of a gambling addiction, the good news is that there is plenty of help out there.  Your first step, therefore, is to try to encourage them to seek help from specialist organizations such as BeGambleAware and NHS who will be able to help them tackle the addiction as well as offering advice on getting their lives back on track.  

Conclusion

Experts feel that they have only really begun to scratch the surface when it comes to finding out why addiction happens and why some people are more susceptible than others.  Gambling addictions can be devastating for sufferers and their loved ones and, left untreated, can lead to serious mental illness and even suicide so, it’s important to encourage addicts to seek help wherever possible. 

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