Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 05 August |
The Commemoration of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Are you at risk for a gambling addiction?

MAN,LOSING,SLOTS

Shutterstock

Javier Fiz Pérez - published on 04/13/18

Pathological gambling may not be a drug ... but it can be just as damaging.

Although a gambling addiction doesn’t have the same devastating effects on physical health as alcoholism or an addiction to tobacco, pathological gambling is similar to these substance addictions inasmuch as it is characterized by an irresistible desire to feel the emotions related to money and gambling. Dependence on games of chance, whether online or in person, can have significant consequences for the affected person’s social and professional integration.

Games of chance are those characterized by activities in which players make bets whose potential benefit is left to chance, such as poker, blackjack, roulette, slot machines, bingo, and many others, which can be played online or at real casinos.

People addicted to gambling have a strong psychological dependence that results in an uncontrollable urge to gamble. When they cannot engage in this activity in one form or another, they can become violent, and can even experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those of drug addicts.

Kinds of gamblers

  • Social gamblers: For them, gambling is simply an opportunity to socialize and have fun.
  • Problem gamblers: These people try to find a solution to their social problems through this kind of entertainment.
  • Pathological (impulsive and dependent) gamblers: For them, the impulse to gamble becomes an uncontrollable necessity accompanied by strong emotional tension and a partial or complete inability to think reflectively and logically. This kind of person is inclined to destructive behavior that is often fed by other grave psychological problems.

Risk factors for gambling addiction

Many studies have tried to identify the risk factors for dependence on games of chance that turn people into impulsive gamblers. Among others, these factors include:

  • Biological aspects: These are principally related to neuro-physiological factors, that is to say, a possible imbalance in the system of neurotransmitters in the brain, causing the production of serotonin (the brain chemical responsible for affective behavior and balance) to fall below the normal level.
  • Aspects related to environment and upbringing: The environment and upbringing received by people who later develop a dependence on gambling is often characterized by problematic situations, often including an overvaluing of money and equating wealth with happiness. Consequently, the presence of financial difficulties, such as unemployment, is a risk factor for heading down the road of compulsive gambling.
  • Psychological aspects: Gambling addiction seems to be related to personality traits of lust and covetousness, as well as a perceived need to be able to show control over chance events as a symbol of greater than average control over the world at large.

We will continue to discuss the symptoms and treatment of pathological gambling in an upcoming article.


DRUG,ADDICTION

Read more:
Drug use: What’s the difference between addiction and dependence?

Tags:
Health and WellnessPsychology
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
2
Philip Kosloski
Most priests can’t absolve these sins
3
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
4
CARLO ACUTIS
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
5
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
6
AMERICA'S GOT TALENT
Cerith Gardiner
Nightbirde’s beautiful message as she drops out of TV show
7
Gianmarco Tamberi AND Mutaz Essa Barshim
Cerith Gardiner
This Olympic event captures the true meaning of the Games
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.