Gambling is a game that is identical to the game of guessing and risking something that has existed for thousands of years ago. In ancient Egypt, gambling was played by guessing the number of fingers hidden was odd or even. After that, there were many types of gambling games developed. As in the 14th century, the first card gambling game was played in China, then followed by the appearance of lottery gambling in the 15th century in the British Empire.
Effects of Gambling to Mental Health
Today there are so many people who are bound and feel addicted to continue gambling. Many consider that this is a type of addiction that is the most severe and difficult to cure besides drug addiction.
Many experts claim the impact of gambling often has to do with our health. Gambling addiction is a form of mental disorder that is often overlooked.
Indeed, you could say gambling is fun and cool because the players think that gambling can make them become wealthy person and they can buy anything they want. In this article, we will learn how gambling affects mental health.
Gambling addiction and mental disorder
Hidehiko Takahashi, a researcher from Kyoto University said gambling addiction is a form of mental disorder that makes someone fond of taking high-risk decisions even though the results are self-defeating. This he proved through research using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the gambler’s brain.
“The research we’ve done focuses on the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex which is the part of the brain that regulates the flexibility of cognitive abilities. In other words, we see how the gambler’s brain adapts to situations involving high risk,” said Takahashi, quoted by EurekAlert!.
Takahashi’s research results say gamblers more often take risky decisions. This is because their ability to value a profit and loss is very low, which results in a tendency to try their luck.
Takahashi analogizes someone’s decision making like a soccer match. When in the first round our team loses, the rational choice taken in the second round is to increase defense while trying new attack patterns.
“However, in the minds of gamblers, they tend to take risks. It is very possible they will put all the players into attackers in the second round, which of course makes the risk of our team conceding more,” he explained.
On the other hand, Takahashi’s research results also found gamblers had a greater risk of experiencing mood and anxiety disorders. So that gamblers can be said not to gamble to find satisfaction, but back again to the ability to assess and recognize bad risks.
In a study published in the Translational Psychiatry journal, Takahashi hopes his research can provide a new understanding of gambling addiction. Going forward, the results of the study can be taken into consideration for developing new gambling addiction treatment methods or therapies.
Psychological conditions that cause people to gamble
Gambling is indeed used as an alternative choice for people who are lazy to work to get fantastic profits. It often crossed their minds that by playing gambling they would get money easily. Though this is not true and it can be said that if we already have such feelings we will continue to be trapped in the world of gambling.
There is a condition called Gambling Addiction or a condition where there is someone who is unable to resist the urge to continue betting or gambling without considering the impact that will arise afterward.
There are several factors that usually affect a person becoming addicted to gambling such as:
- There is a feeling or sensation of tension when we wait for the results of losing or winning while gambling will be a pleasure for those who play it. This is related to the increased activity of the brain that is connected with the Dopamine nerve (a neurotransmitter that is formed in the brain and is tasked with giving signals between nerve cells with each other).
- The formation of an endorphin hormone in the body that can create a sensation of pleasure for its players. When people experience defeat, our body still produces endorphins and adrenaline. If someone has reached this stage then he is playing gambling is not a matter of looking for profits anymore, but to be used as a means of entertainment for himself.
Why do people gamble?
Some people bet because of the sensations they receive from the uncertainty associated with it. They find gambling fun. So the point is just having fun.
2. Social Contact
The casino is like a meeting place. It provides social outlets. Players can get a sense of connection with friends or with the community that they just met.
3. Become Rich / Win Money
Some people might gamble because of their strong desire to win money. This seems to be the main reason people gamble.
4. To recover financially
For this, people who are lazy to work but dream of having a lot of money, for me this is an act of despair.
5. For Competition
Some people might gamble to excel and win prize matches. The desire to conquer others. In online gambling apps, there are challenges that will certainly award you attractive prizes for superior gamblers.
6. An escape
Gambling might be a way to escape boredom, from the pressures and routines of daily life, all to earn a living.
Once someone is addicted to gambling, they will gamble and cannot refuse to gamble.
Gambling and depression
Gambling can make you feel excited, but if you gamble more than recreation, you might be depressed or you might suffer from gambling addiction disorders.
The problem of gamblers is far more likely than others for depression and alcohol abuse. Many say they are anxious and depressed before they start gambling. No matter how much a person can make whether it’s fast or slow, it will not help with relief from depression.
Is there such a thing as safe gambling? Some people will quickly say no. Others will argue that gambling is actually safe as long as you are aware of these sensible rules:
- Stay away from high-stakes gambling games where you risk a lot of money fast.
- Make sure you limit your time to gamble. You surely have other important things to tend to.
- Make sure you have a gambling budget. This will help you to limit the amount of money you would spend and afford to lose. Once you spend this much, walk away.
- Know when to quit. I think this one is very important. The family member I mentioned earlier, he has difficulty to quit. He’ll keep going until he spends all his money. So, you could try to quit while you’re ahead. If you continue, there is no guarantee for you to keep winning. How do you think casinos make their money?
How do you know if you are a compulsive gambler?
Gambling can be seen as a harmless activity, entertainment, or some sort. But, for some people, gambling is something that they can’t let go even though they likely aware that it is an addiction that can cause problems in their lives.
You could be a compulsive gambler if:
- You lose more money on gambling. If you continue to gamble, you could put yourself into a big debt. Maybe worst, you could even lose your home, car, and other valuable possessions.
- You spend too much time gambling that you forget about your family and job. The effects of gambling on family: you could risk your relationship that might cause you to get divorced, or separated from your partner and children. What is the effect of gambling on your job? You could lose your job if you spend too much time gambling and you have lack of sleep so you cannot perform well at work.
- Your feelings and behavior change. For example, you could become depressed when you lose or over-excited when you win (that will lead you to more gambling). It may get worst once you think gambling is a part of your lifestyle that you can’t let go (addicted).
- Gambling causes you to make a reckless decision that leads to inappropriate or even criminal acts. For example, you may steal money to make sure you can still go gambling.
Eliminating an addiction to gambling
The following are some steps that can be taken to eliminate gambling habits:
1. Acknowledge if you have a problem
Gambling addiction is the same as other types of addictions. The first step to take is to realize that you really have a problem and want to stop this problem.
Experts say treatment will not be effective if the addict does not pass this step correctly. Acknowledging the problem means that you are ready to try everything to stop gambling.
2. Look for support
Gambling addiction is very difficult to fight if you do it alone. Family and friends will be a good source of support for you who are struggling with this problem.
You can also join groups or groups of people who have the same problem, so you can share your experiences and courage.
3. Avoid temptation
If you are not sure you can resist the temptation of gambling, then stay away from anything that will remind you of this. If you gamble because of a friend’s invitation, then, for the time being, stay away from that friend.
Also, keep tools that remind you of gambling games such as cards, chips, or smartphones that you use to play gambling.
4. Look for new hobbies
Looking for new activities or hobbies will really help you to forget the habit of gambling. You can start sports or assemble something.
Many people succeed in getting rid of their gambling addictions by taking part in skills training. Not only does it get rid of addictions, but you will also get new skills that are useful for your future.
5. Seek expert assistance
The intensity of treatment for gambling addiction can be different for each person. 70% of people with this case need the help of a psychiatrist and special treatment. Psychotherapy can be used as part of treatment, and medicine is also usually prescribed to help reduce impulses that are difficult to resist.
Also read: Financial Stress Management Strategies
If you already understand the condition of you or your friends who are addicted to gambling, then immediately seek help.
Don’t wait too long because you feel doubtful or embarrassed, the longer you wait the longer your journey to get rid of this addiction.
I’ll leave you guys with this interesting video:
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Stay safe, happy, and healthy! 🙂
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