Compulsive gambling is a very dangerous, psychological addiction. It is an urge to keep spending money you may or may not have on gambling and gaming, and it cannot be controlled with anything other than sheer willpower and determination. There is no medicine you can take, no remedy to help you overcome it all. It is entirely down to you.
The compulsive gambling- which is sometimes referred to as a gambling disorder- works in the same way that a drug or alcohol addiction would work. In the same way that drugs and alcohol release dopamine into the brain and create that ‘feel good’ feeling, stimulating the brain, so does gambling- the thrill of knowing you’re taking big risks and the excitement of winning. While it’s okay to gamble now and again with friends for a good time, once you begin to spend money you don’t have, create substantial amounts of debt, turn to borrowing money from dodgy dealers, start concealing your habits and spending more and more time at casinos or gambling, then you’ve probably become a compulsive gambler.
If you think you might be a compulsive gambler, or if you think someone you know might be, there are some signs you can look out for:
– If you are gambling in order to feel better about yourself, feel happier or to cheer yourself up.
– If you are hiding gambling from your family and friends.
– If you are always thinking about gambling; when you’re next able to do it, how you’ll get more money in order to be able to afford it and so on.
– Breaking the law in order to gamble (e.g. committing fraud)
– Risking your job, education, and relationships with family and friends in order to be able to gamble.
– Feeling negatively about your life and yourself when unable to gamble.
When someone finally comes to terms with the fact that they may be a compulsive gambler, they need to go and see either a doctor or a mental health professional who can listen to their problem and assist them in the most appropriate way. In worst case scenarios, compulsive gambling can lead to some lifelong problems, such as trust issues, financial issues, legal issues (particularly if the gambling leads to a criminal record) and much more. That is why it is so much better to nip this addiction in the bud sooner rather than later.