Pathological Gambling

Whether you’re throwing dice, buying scratchcards, or pulling the lever on a slot machine, gambling involves putting something of value up against a chance of winning money. Some people enjoy this form of entertainment, but for others the thrill and adrenaline rush of gambling can get out of hand. When it does, it’s known as pathological gambling, and it’s been recognised as a mental health problem alongside substance addictions. If you’re finding yourself spending more than you can afford to lose, borrowing to gamble or even putting off paying bills and other obligations to spend time at the casino, it may be time to consider seeking help.

Pathological gambling affects about 20 percent of people who gamble, and it’s a serious problem that can lead to debt, homelessness and even suicide or suicidal thoughts. It’s a condition that can be treated, but the best way to stop is to avoid gambling altogether. There are a number of ways to do this, including seeking treatment, joining a support group and implementing self-help tips.

The psychology of gambling

Gambling is a complex phenomenon, and there are many factors that can lead to a person becoming addicted to it. For example, some people are more prone to it than others, and some have predispositions in terms of how their brain sends chemical messages. These factors can include:

Another reason why some people become hooked on gambling is that it provides them with an escape from boredom or stress. The escapism comes from both the excitement of winning and the sense of social connection that can be found in casinos and other places where gambling is offered. This can be a powerful combination, and it’s why gambling is so popular in the US, where people go out to casinos on weekend nights to meet their friends.

In addition, gambling can also make people feel in control. This is because people are often influenced by what they think of as lucky coincidences, such as stories on the news of people who have won the lottery or the fact that they have had a few wins themselves. They can overestimate their chances of winning because of this, and they can convince themselves that they can gain more control by acting in a certain way, such as throwing the dice or wearing a special piece of clothing.

Partial reinforcement

Lastly, a major factor in why some people keep going after a loss is the concept of partial reinforcement. This is the idea that actions are not rewarded 100% of the time, nor do they cause a negative outcome 100% of the time. The reality is that you have a chance of winning, but the majority of time you will lose. The expectation of a win keeps you coming back, and the feeling of euphoria when you do win can lead to a vicious cycle of impulsive behaviour.

To combat this, try to limit your gambling to a certain amount of time and don’t be afraid to walk away. It’s also important to remember that gambling is not a lucrative way to make money and should only be done for fun, not as a means to generate income.