Why Do People Gamble?

Why Do People Gamble?Most people start gambling, because it is fun. Gambling is meant to be flashy and entertaining and may be seen as part of a celebration or a fun night out. The risk and thrill of it all is attractive to first-time gamblers as well as lifelong participants. The feelings of pleasure associated with gambling are also due to a chemical process in the brain. Adrenaline-increasing chemicals are released during activities such as gambling, sky-diving or having sex. The act can be mood-altering, and these shifts in mood and natural chemicals are addictive for some. While gambling for fun can be harmless, it can also lead to a compulsive habit or addiction.

Why Does Gambling Addiction Develop?

Because gambling can produce feelings of pleasure and improve one’s mood, people often use the activity to cope with emotional issues. Family troubles, relationship problems, career issues, stress and emotional insecurity can be overwhelming and cause people to search for an escape. Gambling can serve as a distraction and produce temporary feelings of relief. Gambling can also help numb or block emotional pain related to difficult experiences like losing a close friend, being a victim of abuse or returning home from military service. The causes of gambling addiction may also be related to mental health concerns. Anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and other behavioral disorders like substance abuse and eating disorders are often connected with gambling problems. Using gambling as a method to “deal” with one’s troubles is not the answer.

When Does Gambling Turn into a Problem?

Compulsive gambling is a habit that interferes and causes harm to any major area of one’s life. It can impact gamblers psychologically, physically, socially or vocationally. Identifying problem gambling is essential to preventing addiction or stopping it in its tracks. Some of the most significant signs of gambling addiction include the following:

  • The individual is preoccupied with all things related to gambling. This can include planning to gamble or constantly thinking about how to win or how past losses could have been avoided.
  • When gambling the individual’s attitude and behavior will change and his or her heart rate will increase.
  • A tolerance will develop. The gambler will begin to raise the stakes and feel the need to risk more money to achieve the same stimulation as before. Gamblers end up with financial problems, because they spend more than they have while caught up in the activity.
  • The individual has unsuccessfully tried to stop or cut back on gambling.
  • A gambling addict may become obsessed with chasing losses or constantly attempting to win back money already lost.
  • Lying, stealing and other suspicious behaviors indicate a serious problem. If an individual feels guilty about the habit, he or she knows it is causing harm.

Find Help for a Gambling Problem or Addiction

Are you concerned that you or a loved one may have a gambling problem or addiction? If so, we can help. Call our toll-free helpline to speak with a trained recovery counselor. Counselors are available to answer your questions about gambling issues as well as provide information on treatment options and recovery. We are here to provide you with confidential assistance 24 hours a day. Your future is nothing to gamble with, so call now and talk with a professional today.