Compulsive Gambling

Compulsive gamblers are those who have lost control over their actions. That irresistible urge to place a bet, roll the dice or spin the wheel takes precedent over everything else that might be going on in their lives. Family doesn’t matter. Work can wait. All they care about is achieving the kind of high that can only come from winning. Even if they win once for every 50 bets, the compulsion takes over and drives the habit. Understanding this compulsion can lead towards a plan of helpful treatment. In other words, it’s important to know how that compulsion began.

The Start of Compulsive Gambling

Many people refer to smoking marijuana as a gateway drug to more serious narcotics. Whether that’s true or not, you can indeed make the argument that winning any game of chance is a potential gateway to a gambling addiction.

Most gambling addicts start their downward spiral innocently enough. They might play roulette for the first time on a cruise or like to pick up an occasional lottery ticket when the jackpot gets big. When those simple gambling jaunts aren’t satisfying enough, the compulsion kicks in. The gambling addict will seek out bigger wins by risking bigger pots of money. As the compulsion takes hold, the addict now only cares about experiencing that rush of winning. They chase after that feeling becomes all they think about. If the only way to get that feeling is to throw money away, then so be it.

Root Medical Causes for Compulsive Gambling

Medical researchers have not found that illusive “gambling gene” in our DNA. However, they have been able to identify conditions in our brains which can cause addictive behavior patterns. These triggers can manifest themselves as addictions for narcotics, alcohol, sex or gambling.

Here’s how it breaks down: neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin are what enables our brains to experience certain sensations. When these neurotransmitters are released in a normal brain, everything is functioning as it should be. However, in the mind of an addict, a breakdown in those transmissions can lead to the desire of finding ways to supplement them.

It’s like when you get hungry. Your brain sends a signal that it’s time for food. You eat and the brain rewards you by sending the signal that you’re satisfied. If that communication is interrupted in the brain, then no amount of food is going to make you satisfied. Same with gambling; if those neurotransmitters are fractured, you can lose control of your actions and continue with the behavior even when you know it is destroying your life.

Risk Factors for Compulsive Gambling

Beyond brain issues, a gambling addiction can be triggered through environmental factors. If you grew up in house with gamblers, there’s a strong chance you might fall into the same patterns. If you have easy access to places where you can gamble then the temptation to do so might become overwhelming. This is also why online gambling is becoming such a problem. For people who are predisposed to compulsive gambling, merely clicking onto a gambling site is just too easy.

Learning about the basics of a gambling compulsion can help you make an informed decision about what is the best gambling treatment program. You can continue your information gathering by calling the toll-free number on this page. It’s a free consultation that could just change your life for the better!