Gambling could be quite a lot of fun. The adrenaline rush of waiting for results as you spin the slots could be quite a nice getaway from a stressful office job or life in general. Normally you would expect people to just go to casinos and try their luck there, but the 21st century has different plans.
It used to be just families, friends and young couples just jumping in their cars and driving to Nevada, in order to visit the infamous Las Vegas casinos. Although gambling could result in large winning, capable of changing your whole life, they are also capable of destroying it with a gambling addiction.
The science of gambling
The science of gambling is quite simple. Remember the last time you spinned a slot or bet on something online. It wasn’t very taxing on the brain, however quite taxing on the nervous system as you sat there, retaining your adrenaline, waiting for the result. The fact is that people consider gambling as a means to quick money, however it is not.
You see what gambling does is, it helps the brain create extra amounts of dopamine and endorphins. These are the chemicals that affect our happiness and determination. For example, the moment you have a lucky spin, you get blasted with dopamine and endorphins, enticing you to give it another try. The moment you lose, you get an extra shot of endorphins also enticing you to try again and get back your losses. All of this turns into a loophole, forcing you to play more and more. Only people with stronger willpower are able to quit after a couple of spins and not be forced right back. However, there aren’t too many people like this. Those who have tasted even the smallest amount of winning in gambling, get hooked immediately and find it impossible to quit. Therefore increasing the number of gambling addiction all around the world.
What are believed to be the supporters of gambling addiction?
Time and time again, restrictions of a certain activity have shown to fail. Outlawing gambling will not help the situation at all, because if a person is addicted, he or she will definitely find a way outside the law to feed their addiction. Therefore it becomes hard to identify means of lowering the numbers and even harder to actually identify the key factors, which cause addiction to gambling.
Many people believe that it is caused by too much exposure, therefore the calls for limitation. For example, many political parties within the UK are pushing for a ban on gambling advertisements 1 hour before and after sports games, because of the number of theri citizens addicted to sports betting gambling. Australia has already done it and has seen some improvement, but does this mean that ads increase addiction? Not necessarily, it is just about the experience and lack of preventing methods.
Many actually believe that gambling addiction is fueled by success. Remember when we mentioned dopamine, it’s quite a drug if misused. Pretty much every drug you’ve heard about triggers some sort of dopamine release, even the smaller ones you may not consider drugs like coffee, alcohol, nicotine, all of these substances are designed to help us release dopamine to feel happier, more relieved and more alive. Over time it becomes addictive, hooking us to the activity that helped us get this dopamine in the first place. Same goes for winnings in the casino. They don’t say it for nothing “The moment you win once, you’re hooked for life”.
Gambling addictions increase
As ways of gambling increases, so do the numbers. According to statistics, people requesting aid for gambling addiction on hotlines have increased by one-third. Which at a glance looks horrible, but honestly it is amazing news. The increase in initiative from the community to seek help is one of the best ways to combat the epidemic. Especially in the lower income families, as they certainly don’t have the extra money to fuel their addiction.
Who to blame?
Many third party “spectators” try to blame the casinos, who make their product way too addictive and enticing. But honestly, there is nobody to blame but the victims themselves. In the beginning, gambling is a choice, but later it becomes a necessity for some people. Therefore if there was any way to intervene in the early stages of gambling addiction, we would not be facing such high numbers today. The world is inching towards a more soft policy on drugs, encouraging addicts to come seek help, same should be done about gambling, it may not have a physical toll on the body, but emotionally and psychologically it could be stronger than the strongest drug available. Drugs may destroy you over a given period of time, but gambling has the ability to knock you down on your feet with a single blow to your savings and assets.