Gambling Addiction

Like any compulsive behavior, a gambling addiction should not have to be the demise of anyone’s career or even life. With specialized help, it can be controlled.   That said, a gambling addiction is thought not to merely be indicative of a weak mind or character, but there actually seems to be some biological etiology behind it.  Gambling addiction is often seen as connected with drinking or alcohol problems because, if one has a gambling problem, and they drink, it is very difficult to transform the self-deprecating thoughts about the behavior, because the alcohol effects their rational thinking.

Gambling addiction is considered a mental-health issue that is thought to be just one of many numerous types of impulse-control concerns that an individual may suffer from. The kinds of gambling activities that persons with this illness might participate in are as varied as the games that are available. Playing poker, buying lotto tickets, betting on sports, slot machines, or roulette are just a few of the activities in which compulsive gamblers indulge. And, the choice of venue for persons with a gambling addiction varies as well. Although numerous individuals may prefer to spend their money in a traditional casino, rocksino, or even the racino, with increased use of the Internet, the rate of an online and web-based gambling addiction continues to increase. Also called compulsive gambling, any gambling addiction is considered pathological gambling in nature.

Driven primarily by the desire to take risks, as well as the receiving that pump of adrenaline after a huge payoff (or even small payoffs), a gambling addiction is a progressive disease that steadily worsens over time.  However, it may begin as a seemingly innocuous activity – something as a simple card game that an individual enjoys playing one evening may eventually lead that individual down the path of criminal activity; stealing or borrowing excessive amounts of money to nurture this rapidly growing parasite known as gambling addiction.  It should be noted also and important to understand as well that a gambling addiction doesn’t necessarily occur only in casinos, but can be found in playing the lotteries, betting on sports, regular card games, and last, but not least, the volatile stock market.  

Gambling addiction can be defined as a behavioral addiction where an individual has an overwhelming compulsion to gamble regardless of the negative effects on their mental stability and lifestyle. They understand the concept that gambling is basically any game where people can place bets on activities such as card games, casino games, horse racing, and lotteries, but they cannot rationalize a stopping point. Although, most people can participate in gambling activities without it turning into pathological gambling, the compulsive gambler cannot. Once they are engaged, the activity consumes them. It’s like telling the alcoholic they can only have one drink! As mentioned previously, gambling abuse or pathological gambling, is a progressive disease that not only affects the gambler, but also the gambler's livelihood, friends and family.

A gambling addiction has a strong resemblance to drug addiction because a person will experience the same feelings of euphoria from winning, (release of endorphins) which in turn makes them want to continue gambling even more. The exhilaration of the win for a gambler can be just as strong as the high a drug addict experiences. Yes, it leaves them craving more! On the other hand, a number of people that participate in compulsive gambling do so in a vain attempt to “win back” all that they’ve lost. “This is the one”. These words echo through the compulsive gambler’s head again and again all the while losing more and more money.

Statistics show that gambling addiction is one of the most rapidly growing disorders of impulse-control in the United States today. “Over fifteen million Americans display some form of gambling addiction. Also known as compulsive gambling and clinical pathological gambling, gambling can be as addictive as any drug”.


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