When people are addicted to drugs and other substances, there are outward symptoms that you can easily spot and their behaviors may actually reflect this to be the case as well.
However, when it comes to gambling addicts, they rarely reveal anything. To the naked eye, it would seem that these people are just normal- that they are not carrying a heavy burden.
But, because of the fact that you can pretty much go to online casinos to start gambling, the prevalence of gambling addiction has skyrocketed.
That is the reason why the American Psychological Association has misclassified this disorder as an impulse control disorder. Now on the 5th edition of the DSM, gambling is already classified as its own disorder and rightfully so.
In this post, we will unravel the mystery of how your brain gets affected by gambling and why it matters.
The Links Between Gambling Addiction and Chemical Dependency
What is the main reason why drugs like Methamphetamine and Cocaine are so addictive? Well, that is because when they enter the brain, it produces a neurotransmitter known as Dopamine that is responsible for the feelings of intense pleasure and elation.
When the drug addict keeps on snorting these drugs, they will develop a tolerance to the effects of the said neurotransmitter- prompting them to take more and more drugs just to achieve the same level of elation.
This becomes a dangerous cycle to the point that one can die due to drug overdose. That feeling of elation; that feeling of excitement, and the intense feeling of pleasure are all emotions that drug addicts want to achieve, hence their incessant need for drugs like Cocaine and others that do a similar thing.
Gambling addiction is pretty much similar to that, except that you substitute drugs for the things that you can expect in gambling. The activity itself produces Dopamine and the brain’s reward centers are stronger than ever as a result.
Because we want to feel elated and happy most of the time, gambling addicts would always gamble their time and money away in an effort to keep this sensation going for hours on end.
If compulsive gamblers were to stop gambling, there would be a void that is left for them to fill. When they resist the urge to gamble, they resort to bad or sometimes even violent behaviors and their level-headedness will be compromised- rendering them unable to make sound choices.
Why It Needs to Be Treated
Remember that gambling addiction has already been classified in the DSM-V as its own addiction, which means that treatment programs have been made to specifically fix this problem.
When compulsive gamblers stop gambling, they usually are left with a void that they want to fill. That is why they would do other things that can make them happy and for them to achieve the same high to that of gambling, they might even resort to drugs or even dangerous activities and behaviors as well.
That being said, if you know someone who is addicted to gambling, call for help as they will need to be treated through various programs, treatment options, and even medication.