Gambling Addiction: Risks and How Can You Avoid It?

Gambling compulsively, often known as a gambling condition or addiction, refers to the overwhelming need to continue gambling despite its adverse effects on your life. Gambling is the act of risking something valuable to pursue something even more useful. Moreover, in current times, online casino games are becoming more addictive as people are repeatedly able to gamble from anywhere at any time. 

Similar to how narcotics or alcohol can do it, gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system, which can lead to addiction. If you struggle with compulsive gambling, you can chase bets that end in losses over and over again, deplete your funds, and incur debt. You could try to hide your actions, even resort to theft or fraud to feed your addiction.

A dangerous problem that may ruin lives is addictive gambling. Even though treating compulsive gambling can be complex, many individuals who battle the disorder have found relief via professional treatment.

Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

Addiction to gambling (gambling disease) symptoms can include:

  • being fascinated with gambling, such as continually organising events to increase one’s bankroll
  • needing to bet with more money to experience the same excitement
  • Ineffective attempts to limit, curtail, or stop gambling
  • irritability or restlessness when attempting to reduce your gaming
  • using gambling to solve problems or deal with feelings of helplessness, shame, fear, or melancholy
  • Increasing gaming to recover lost funds (chasing losses)
  • lying to loved ones or other people to conceal your level of gambling
  • putting at risk or losing crucial connections, a job, or possibilities for study or work because of gambling
  • asking for help from others to get out of debt after losing money gambling

Most recreational gamblers either give up when they lose or set a maximum amount they’re willing to lose. However, compulsive gamblers feel obliged to keep gambling to win back their money, a behaviour that worsens over time. Some individuals may resort to theft or fraud to obtain gaming funds.

Some persons who struggle with compulsive gambling may experience remissions or intervals when they gamble less or not at all. However, remission is typically not long-lasting without treatment.

Risk Factors for gambling 

There are multiple risk factors for gambling, such as:

  • Mental health conditions: 

Someone who suffers from a mental health condition like depression may be more prone to developing a gambling addiction, especially if they don’t seek treatment for it. Compulsive gamblers frequently use gambling as a means of numbing their emotional anguish. Because it takes a person out of their difficulties and into a “zone,” gambling can significantly impact a person struggling with mental illness.

  • Age: 

Compared to adults, young individuals are more prone to having a gambling disorder. Around 5% of teenagers in the United States struggle with compulsive gambling, according to the Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior. In comparison, just 1% of people suffer from severe addiction.

  • Peer Influence: 

The desire to gamble can also be influenced by others, especially throughout adolescence. Adolescents with gambling issues or who run the danger of becoming addicted typically have friends who gamble. Teenagers may gamble more recklessly as they strive for peer acceptance.

  • Personality Characteristics: 

Harm avoidance and low self-directedness are two personality traits linked to an increased likelihood of developing a gambling addiction. Harm avoidance traits include pessimism, excessive anxiety, shyness, and uncertainty or fear.

  • Medications: 

Those who take drugs known as dopamine agonists may feel the temptation to gamble. Parkinson’s disease, restless legs syndrome, and other disorders are all treated with dopamine agonists. As a side effect, these drugs might occasionally cause obsessive behaviour. Medication-induced gambling problems are more likely to occur in people with other risk characteristics, such as high impulsivity test scores or young male gender.

  • Self-Esteem: 

Low self-esteem can cause mental health problems, interfere with relationships, and hinder job aspirations. Low self-esteem is associated with addiction-related behaviours, including binge drinking and excessive gambling. Gambling can temporarily liberate someone with unfavourable self-perceptions from emotions of inadequacy and worthlessness. Moreover, people with poor self-esteem may find it challenging to socialise and turn to gambling as a substitute for doing so.

  • Stress: 

Many people use gambling to unwind and cope with extreme stress. An anti-stressor, such as a traumatic incident, chronic sickness, financial concerns, or relationship issues, may cause a person to start gambling. Similar to this, a person who already gambles might increase their gambling as a coping mechanism during times of tremendous stress.

The way to avoid gambling addiction

You can do a few things if you gamble to reduce the chance of developing an addiction. To lower your chance of developing a gambling addiction, it is crucial to learn how to minimise the possibility of injury while playing.

  • Avoid online and mobile gambling, and only place bets at actual bookies. Although the bookies must eventually close, the applications are available around-the-clock, giving you a reprieve from the cycle of gambling.
  • Never place a bet that exceeds your ability to lose. The rent for the upcoming month shouldn’t just disappear without warning.
  • Bring only the exact amount of money that you are willing to lose. Don’t be tempted to go and grab more if you lose everything; instead, give up. Leave the cards at home if you want to avoid using an ATM to withdraw more cash.
  • Never take out a loan to gamble; this won’t work out well and could hurt your relationships.
  • Stay away from your lost gains. You won’t be able to get all of the cashback from your gambling losses.
  • Decide in advance how long you will spend at the bookies. As soon as your time is over, depart.
  • Taking frequent breaks is necessary for gaming safety. To get some fresh air and stop losing track of time and money.
  • When you’ve been drinking or using drugs, stay away from gambling. You’re more prone to take bigger risks since you have less control over your desires.
  • Remember that gambling is a game of chance; there are no assurances and no surefire ways to know how a game will turn out.
  • If you’re feeling sad, nervous, depressed, or agitated, you should stop gambling. You will only make matters worse if you turn to gamble to deal with these problems.
  • Don’t let gambling replace other pastimes or your primary source of fun by spending time on them.

Final words

Online casino games attract players for online gambling real money, which becomes addictive. Certain risk factors for gambling have been provided above, followed by the way to avoid them.