Let’s Talk About Your Gambling Problem: What is Compulsive Gambling Really all About?

Am I a compulsive gambler? What really is compulsive gambling? Is it an addiction like cocaine or heroin?

To truly understand compulsive gambling, you need to take a look at the brain. Simply put, there are a number of hormones that are released in the healthy brain that create endorphins that make you feel good. People who are prone to addiction have a deficiency of these hormones, or a chemical imbalance in the brain. For people with an imbalance in the brain, the “rush” that gambling creates actually mimics the release of these hormones in the brain, and makes the person feel good.

However, the feeling that gambling may produce in the brain, is not real, and it definitely is not permanent! The momentary ‘high’ that gambling produces will always result in a crash that will leave you feeling worse then when you started. In order to feel better, desperately, you will gamble again, and again. Only to be let down, over and over. Does this sound familiar? If it does, you’re not alone!

Because compulsive gambling mimics a feel good feeling in the brain, it is very similar to other addictions. Just as with alcohol addictions and hard drugs such as cocaine, compulsive gambling is an addiction. But is the brain the only thing to blame when it comes to gambling? Of course not. There is more at work, than the physiology of the brain, but it is an important component.

Money is an important part of compulsive gambling; however it is not the only thing. Many people believe that gambling is all about winning money, and earning back what you have lost, but that’s not true at all. People who are addicted to gambling are addicted to the feeling that gambling provides. The thrill of winning, the feeling of power, of greatness! As was just explained, compulsive gambling is much more about a feeling than the money.

So if gambling is about a feeling, how is it that compulsive gambling is considered an addiction? Someone who has a gambling problem faces some of the same troubles as an individual with another, more identifiable addiction. The addict cannot stop gambling, despite the fact that they know they should, they live with broken lives, families falling apart and debt problems. Compulsive gamblers live in denial as they chase the big win trying to recapture the ‘high’ that they once felt gambling.

Compulsive gambling is a hidden addiction; it is not as easy to identify someone with a gambling problem as someone who is an alcoholic. So how do you spot someone with a gambling problem? How can you be sure if you or someone you love has a problem? And why is compulsive gambling really a problem? In the next email, I’ll outline symptoms to watch for in compulsive gambling.

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Compulsive gamblers are often on the lookout for ways to get rid of their addiction. They will search for help online or locally. At the same time they also have a lot of questions that need to be addressed but are slowly losing hope if they will ever get their answers.

Following are some of the processes that compulsive gamblers go through in order to stop their addiction.

An addicted gambler will confide to one of his or her family member or friend about his addiction and will swear that person into secrecy.

Because of excessive betting, a person does not have the capacity to distinguish which is real or not. When a person knows that he is hooked on gambling, he or she will try to find a solution through the internet.

Gamblers will not make an effort to stop because they think there is no other way but to continue to part with their money in the best way they think is best. Oftentimes they will misinterpret what others are trying to tell them. If there are changes in their behavior, this will motivate them to look for help.

Compulsive gamblers react negatively to stop gaming websites because of the one off charge of $67. They choose to attack these websites compared to the large amount of money and time they spend on gambling.

Compulsive gamblers are so fixated with the games that they cannot see reason. Generally they will keep to themselves and stay away from their families and friends as they get on with their quest for help.

When he or she finally finds a website, he or she will decide that it was not what he or she was looking for. Compulsive gamblers will have lots of excuses not to continue using the stop gaming website because to them it did not help in any way. The gambler will then decide to go back as there is no way out but continue gambling.

When the bettor runs out of money to bet he decides to stop betting. He admits he has a problem and will strive to get rid of the problem. However as this cycle goes on and on, the compulsive gambler will undergo stress and become anxious that will lead him to conclude that he might as well go back to squandering his money because it offers him relief from his worries.