Some people may be said to enjoy a risk-free form of entertainment, such as gambling, where the odds of success are low but the potential rewards are high. These gamblers are unaware that the only outcomes of betting a significant amount of money are either a significant loss or the development of a compulsive behavior known as a gambling addiction. Although genetics play a role, there is mounting evidence that gambling disorder is also linked to the brain’s dopamine reward system. “One of the things you see in process addictions like gambling is that much of the reward comes not from winning but rather from the possibility of winning,” said Dr. David Sack, a psychiatrist. Although individual gamblers’ experiences vary, this is one of the things that can be observed.
According to Heather Berlin, a neuroscientist at Mount Sinai in Egypt, problematic gamblers are similar to drug addicts in that they are unable to stop putting their possessions at risk, despite the negative consequences of gambling. These negative consequences include financial loss, the severing of ties and friendships, and the loss of employment.
According to recent research, approximately 2.5 million adults in the United States are affected by compulsive gambling, and as many as 15 million of us face the possibility of developing a gambling problem in the future, according to Ryan Howes Ph.D., ABPP.
How can people keep themselves or those they care about from becoming addicted to this on-the-rise substance? The following are five methods for overcoming a gambling addiction.
Recognize that you are facing a problem.
When you and those around you become aware of the early stages of your gambling addiction, you may begin to engage in denial. Gamblers rarely seek treatment for their addiction. As few as 3% of people are in the early stages of what they perceive to be just scratching the surface of the gambling world. A small percentage of gamblers will eventually realize that there is something seriously wrong with them and that their addiction is progressing at an alarming rate. As a result, the first step is to recognize and admit to yourself that you are slowly becoming consumed by your gambling addiction. The only way to move forward is to admit this to yourself.
Take part in a Peer Support Group.
Being around other people who are experiencing the same difficulties as you can be beneficial, especially if everyone is willing to collaborate to find a solution. In a support group, you may be able to get help from other members. Gambling addicts can seek help from a variety of organizations and communities, including Gamblers Anonymous (GA). It describes a 12-step program that teaches participants how to overcome gambling addiction with the help of a sponsor.
Seek the help of a professional.
“Like so many other things, I have heard of no two stories that are alike. Some people have been subjected to such a wide range of negative consequences (financial, professional, emotional, legal, etc.) that they have no choice but to give up. “Others are able to look down the road and understand where their gambling is going to take them before they get there and decide to get help,” says clinical psychologist Dr. Martin Hsia.
When pursuing therapy on an individual basis, participation in a support group is critical. Psychological experts are eager to help you in any way they can. A neuroscientist named Berlin described a therapeutic activity that can be used to help gamblers who are addicted to gambling. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is one of these. Face-to-face conversations between the gambler and the therapist are used in this type of treatment to try to change the gambler’s harmful ideas and behavior.
Furthermore, CBT teaches the gambler how to deal with personal and financial problems, rather than encouraging them to avoid dealing with these issues through gambling. Furthermore, it helps addicts develop their own coping mechanisms and improve their cognitive functioning so that they can better resist the urge to gamble.