How to Recognize a Gambling Problem

Gambling involves risking something of value (like money) in the hope of winning a prize. It can happen anywhere – in casinos, at sporting events, or even online. Some people gamble to win big jackpots, but it is important to remember that gambling is a dangerous activity and can cause serious problems.

Gambling can be fun, but it is also dangerous, and there are many ways to get addicted to gambling. It is important to learn about the risks of gambling and how to recognize a gambling problem, so that you can seek help before it’s too late.

People who develop a gambling addiction often have certain characteristics that make them more likely to gamble. For example, they may be more impulsive and have difficulty making decisions that weigh the long-term consequences of their actions. They might have less activation of the prefrontal cortex, which helps them control their impulses and assess risk.

In addition, they may have a genetic predisposition to seek rewards and pleasure, which can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain. This can lead to the desire to continue gambling in order to feel the reward again and again.

Over time, the individual develops a tolerance to the dopamine-generated euphoria that gambling provides and must increase their stakes in order to experience this feeling again. This is akin to how you might become accustomed to the fun of a video game after playing it for a while and eventually need to play more and more in order to get the same enjoyment out of it.

Those with a gambling addiction often experience feelings of guilt, shame and depression. They might have a hard time admitting that they have a problem and might downplay or lie about their gambling behavior to family members and friends. They might also rely on others to fund their gambling or replace the money they’ve lost.

It is difficult to stop gambling when you have a problem, but it is possible to overcome it with the right help and support. The first step is to acknowledge that you have a problem, which can be challenging, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money and have strained or broken relationships as a result. Then, you can work with a professional therapist to find the right treatment plan for your unique situation. You can get started with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. The therapists on our platform are all licensed, vetted and highly-trained to treat a variety of issues including gambling addiction. Start your search today!