Gambling is the act of placing a bet on an event with a high degree of uncertainty. This type of risky wagering requires the gambler to consider the prize and the risk. It is an activity that can be fun or dangerous, depending on the circumstances. If you are prone to gambling, there are several tips that can help you to overcome your compulsive behavior.
Identifying compulsive gambling
Identifying compulsive gambling is an important step in the recovery process for those with this condition. Although it can be difficult to admit that you or someone you love has a problem with gambling, the good news is that help and support are available. Ultimately, the goal of identifying compulsive gambling is to help the person with the disorder live a more normal, healthy life.
Although gambling is a fun activity that has no adverse consequences for most people, a small minority of people develop pathological gambling. Those with pathological gambling behaviors find that their behavior interferes with their personal, family, and vocational pursuits.
Understanding compulsive gambling
Understanding compulsive gambling and its causes can be helpful for those suffering from this problem. Those who are compulsive gamblers believe that they are motivated by the desire to win money. However, recent studies have found a similarity between this condition and drug addiction. Both are caused by certain brain circuits, known as the reward system, which link areas of the brain that control pleasure, memory, and movement. When people engage in a vibrant activity, their brains release a chemical messenger called dopamine. This chemical messenger creates a sense of satisfaction.
Researchers at Yale University and the University of Amsterdam conducted brain imaging studies on pathological gamblers. They found that these gamblers exhibited unusually low electrical activity in prefrontal cortex areas, which are responsible for restraining impulses and risk assessment. Interestingly, the same inactivity was found in drug abusers’ prefrontal cortex regions. Although the exact causes of gambling addiction are unknown, many researchers believe that a combination of genetic, environmental, and biological factors contribute to the development of the disorder.
Identifying problem gambling
Problem gamblers often display several signs and symptoms. These include lying, blaming others for losses, and seeking loans. In addition, they may spend an excessive amount of time at gambling venues. Identifying problem gambling is an important first step in the treatment process. Problem gambling can also affect your relationships with family and friends.
Problem gambling is difficult to diagnose, but it can damage a person’s life. The following signs can help you distinguish between a gambler and a problem gambler: excessive spending, not enough money to pay bills, not able to account for time, and social withdrawal and anxiety.
Reducing compulsive gambling
There are many ways to reduce compulsive gambling, including behavior therapy and self-help groups. People suffering from compulsive gambling need to change their thinking patterns to stop the destructive cycle. There are also numerous medications available to control the impulses to gamble. Some of these medications include mood stabilizers and antidepressants.
Studies have shown that a reduction in anxiety can reduce the urge to gamble. The relationship between anxiety and compulsive gambling was predicted by a theory called aversive tension.