Gambling Addiction Causes, Treatment & Symptoms
However, some people who gamble never experience any other addiction. This is all assuming that the individual keeps gambling long enough for dopamine receptors to reach such a stage. Surely a person will recognise after a while that they aren’t going to win and it’s best to quit before they spend all their money, right? Well, people prone to gambling addiction don’t quite see this logic. Addiction Resource is an educational platform for sharing and disseminating information about addiction and substance abuse recovery centers.
Many experts balk at the idea that gambling can constitute an addiction, believing that there has to be a psychoactive substance that produces symptoms, such as physical tolerance and withdrawal, for an activity to be a true addiction. Once referred to as compulsive or pathological gambling, gambling disorder is currently the only behavioral addiction included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Feeling a constant urge to gamble even when you are already in a difficult financial situation, or gambling as a way out of financial difficulty are both common symptoms of a gambling addiction. Gambling addiction can also cause problems in relationships and at work, while the cost of funding a gambling addiction can become a huge burden as well as an emotional pressure. Nevertheless, subcortical responses have been observed to near-miss outcomes during a simulated slot machine task.
Not all people who gamble have a problem, and in fact there are several types of gamblers, including professional and social gamblers. However, there are certain key characteristics that people with gambling addictions tend to share. Knowing the signs can help ensure that you or someone you love gets help and gets on the road to recovery. Previously, pathological gambling was classified as an “impulse control disorder.” In the DSM-5, pathological gambling was renamed to gambling disorder and moved to a new category, “addiction and related disorders.” Behavioral economic aims to decompose the processes of option valuation into simple components that can be quantified with discrete parameters (Schonberg et al., 2011). Prospect theory remains the most influential of these accounts because of its ability to describe a range of common behaviors and deviations from normative expected value theory .
This does not, however, mean that if you have a gambling problem you are guaranteed to become addicted to other things. Some people with gambling problems never experience any other addiction because no other substance or activity gives them the same feeling as the gambling does. There also appears to be evidence of family patterns regarding dependency as many people experiencing problems with gambling report one or both parents had a drinking and or gambling problem. Another possibility is ambulatory assistance, for example, through outpatients’ clinics of psychiatric hospitals or addiction institutions, or through clinics for alcohol and drugs abuse.
Interestingly enough however, problem gambling was not considered an “addiction” until the late 1980’s. Prior to, it stood as a behavior that psychologists and the like could not understand fully – it was considered a compulsion, with the mere motive of relieving anxiety, rather than a craving for pleasure. The American Psychiatric Association later went on to define problem gambling as an impulse control disorder. As such, it was moved to the addictions chapter in the DSM-5 – a changing moment in medical history, that allowed psychologists to explore the biology behind gambling addictions, rather than try and understand the symptoms. “The business plan for casinos is not based on the occasional gambler. The business plan for casinos is based on the addicted gambler.”Research has shown that an elevated number of near-miss results does increase playing time.
Naturally, you want to give someone you care about the benefit of the doubt, but after falling for this lie time and time again, you’re again only enabling the addictive behavior to continue. Confronting a compulsive gambler – calling him or her on the indisputable facts that indicate gambling has become an addictive behavior – will usually generate this kind of lie in response. The gambler cannot admit to you or him/her self that there’s a problem, number one, and, number two, if that doesn’t work, he or she will profess vehemently that stopping is no problem. To prove it, the compulsive gambler may even stay away from the casino, sports book, Internet gaming, or track for a short period of time.