The process of addiction starts with an inkling of interest that turns into something taking over your life because you just can’t stop. Casinos and anyone in the gambling industry entice you to become engaged with gambling because they make money.
Unfortunately, compulsive gambling can cause a series of terrible things to happen to you physically, mentally and of course financially. If you feel your life spinning out of control with the incessant spending and don’t know what to do, treatment can help you stop. At Enlightened Solutions, we work with people who live with active addictive behaviors as well as substance use disorders.
Is an obsession with gambling an addiction?
Most people are surprised to find that a person can be addicted to gambling. This addiction can also lead to a series of other addictions including alcohol and/or drug abuse. Addiction in itself is an obsession with your behavior; by engaging with the substance or behavior, a positive reinforcement creates the brain’s need to continue acting on the rush. When the promise of payoff is near and the loss and gain cycle continues, someone with a gambling addiction won’t think about sticking to a budget to avoid financial ruin. The person with the addiction will continue to play or bet by going into debt or selling everything they have, with a distorted thought process of ‘winning it all back, and more’.
In addition to the behavior or physically pushing the slot button, playing blackjack, the lifestyle of a gambler can also be addicting. Casinos offer incentives for gamblers such as free nights at the hotel and endless free drinks. In underground gambling establishments, sexual relations with prostitutes–hired by the business– can influence the addict. The presence of drugs and alcohol can cause the person to forget how much they’re spending or engage in dangerous activity. The more engagement in addictive behaviors and use of substances produces a release of dopamine in the brain that demands the person to continue by any way they can. Repeating this behavior with little to no intention of stopping starts to appear as unkempt image, bill collectors calling, change in your health and so much more.