Why Is Gambling Addictive?
Gambling was not always addictive, according to scientists. In fact, until the early 2000s, most psychologists would agree that reckless gambling was a decision and not a symptom of a much more serious disease. Then, along came neuroscience which highlighted how the brain worked and responded to various stimulants, including gambling.
As it turns out, gambling triggers the same reward centres of the brain and more treacherously, you feel an endorphin rush whether you win or lose. Thanks to extensive studies, it’s now a well-established fact that gambling is addictive. Of course, researchers have cautioned that not everyone who plays for real money at a casino is an addict, even if they are acting what most people consider as reckless.
Gambling Feels Rewarding Whether You Win or Lose
As noted above, your gambling habits will often get the better of you, but it’s important to draw the line. If you cannot seem to stop yourself from seeking stimulants such as gambling, you may need professional help. The good news is such is now available in every jurisdiction where there is a gambling industry.
After 15 years of deliberation, starting in the early 2000s, gambling addiction is now an officially recognised mental and health issue. And, gambling addiction must be addressed in therapy. As there is no doubt left about the addictive nature of gambling, because of the activity’s association with the pleasure centres of your brain, gambling is now more accessible than ever.
In fact, certain aspects of the gambling experience also make it addictive. For example, the neon lights and sounds of a slot machine act as stimulants, which prompt you to gamble more.
Our Brains Crave Rewards
Gambling exploits another foible in human nature – our innate drive to seek rewards and validation. They are both the different sides of the same coin. Gambling is a simplistic activity. Most players do not stop to theorise how to win more beyond an intuitive, gut-feeling strategy they devise on the fly.
More importantly, though, gambling doesn’t allow players to win in the long-term. Just the opposite – the house edge makes it hard for anyone to win with consistency. Due to the weakness in our brains, to be so easily stimulated, gambling fits right in the same category as alcohol, gaming, and eating.
According to researchers, gambling can also dull other senses, and focus one’s happiness on gambling. In other words, to feel happy, an individual who has addiction must continue playing as there are no other ways to feel a sense of accomplishment.
What to Do If Addicted?
Gambling addiction is a serious, medically recognised issue. If you suspect that you or someone else has an addiction problem, it’s best to seek professional help. Or, even do something every day as an intervention.
Addiction may be a personality trait which makes it far more difficult to treat. The good news is that any addiction can be channelled into something positive. Even something that is beneficial to the individual’s life.