Gambling As an Addiction


Whether you play card games with friends at home, place bets on horse races or spin the reels of online casinos, gambling is about risking something of value on an event that is random. It can be a fun way to spend time with friends or as a means of getting the thrill of winning money, but it is also an addiction. As with other addictive behaviors, the short term relief is often followed by increased stress in the long term.

The problem with gambling is that it hijacks your brain’s reward pathway, mimicking the dopamine response you get when you win a game of poker or shoot a basketball into a net. This is a natural learning mechanism to help you improve your performance, but with gambling the outcome is always unpredictable.

In addition to the inherent risks, gambling can be psychologically enticing because it is socially acceptable and is promoted by the media as a glamorous, exciting activity. It is also a common way to cope with boredom, depression and other emotional problems.

Gambling can be an addiction because it provides short term relief from stressful life events and gives people a sense of control. In order to avoid this, it is recommended that you only gamble with disposable income and not money that needs to be saved for rent or bills. Additionally, you should try to limit your time in the casino or online by placing a clock near you so that you do not lose track of the time. For more serious issues, it is also recommended to seek family therapy and other types of professional counseling.