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Understanding the Psychology of Gambling Addiction


Gambling is one of the oldest pastime activities. Many people consider gambling to be a fun and harmless activity. However, it can be very dangerous when abused. In today’s world, many people glorify gambling. As a fact, some of them use it as a means of earning a living.

The omnipresent technology has made it possible for people to access different betting and gaming sites from anywhere and at any time. Consequently, the number of problem gambling cases has really increased. 

This article covers everything you need to understand the psychology of gambling addiction. We’ve covered signs of gambling addiction, risk factors of gambling addiction, dealing with gambling cravings, and much more. (1)

What is the Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction or compulsive gambling is a state where an individual can do all it takes to gamble. It is considered a gambling disorder because you don’t have control over your urges. 

Moreover, it doesn’t matter whether you are winning or losing. Compulsive gambling can be compared to a chronic addiction to cocaine, heroin and other hard drugs. As you may be aware, there are different forms of gambling today, such as sports betting, online casino games, lottery and many others. The test will vary from one player to another.

Signs of Gambling Addiction

The signs and symptoms of gambling problems can be compared to other forms of addiction. In many cases, one will have repetitive patterns of gambling behaviours that cause personal, physical, and mental distress. 

A person is considered to be addicted when they cannot control betting their money recklessly. Moreover, an addicted person will have severe urges to gamble, and the pain can only be relieved after they have wagered. 

So here are the common signs of gambling addiction:

  • Spending money meant for other things on gambling.
  • An uncontrollable urge to gamble.
  • Creating debts to get money to gamble
  • Being secretive about your gambling schedule and outcomes
  • Lying about the time you spend on gambling
  • Going bankrupt because of gambling addiction
  • Losing your job because of gambling
  • Being unable to support your family and personal needs because of gambling

Please note that these symptoms of problem gambling are not apparent in some people, and they tend to hide them until it is too late to be helped.

Common Risk Factors of Problem Gambling

There are several factors that contribute to gambling addiction. These factors range from psychological, environmental to physiological. According to experts, these are some of the risk factors that contribute to compulsive gambling:

Physical Environment: The environment you are in can highly contribute to your gambling addiction. If you are around people who gamble all the time, you will eventually follow their way of life.

Personality Traits: Certain personal traits like impulsiveness, restlessness, and workaholic can contribute to gambling addiction. 

Age and Gender: Young people are prone to gambling addiction compared to old ones. Moreover, men stand a higher chance of being addicted to gambling than women.

Mental Disorder: Some compulsive gamblers have a different underlying mental disorder like 

Family Genetics: People from a family with gambling addiction have a higher chance of following that trait. (2)

Why Do People Gamble?

There are numerous reasons why people spend their time gambling on sports, games, events and more. Here are some of the reasons we found from ardent gamblers:

  1. To solve money problems
  2. To avoid thinking about other personal problems
  3. As a way to relax after hard work
  4. To break boredom and loneliness
  5. As a way of socializing
  6. As a way of entertainment

How to Deal with Gambling Cravings

People with a gambling problem can go different things to overcome gambling cravings. The following are some of the things you can do:

  • Avoid sitting in isolation for a long time
  • Think of what will happen if you submit to the urge of gambling
  • Try to distract yourself with other activities.
  • Postpone the urge to gambling whenever you feel it.

Gambling Addiction Treatment Programs

Although overcoming a gambling problem is not easy, it is possible if you seek the right treatment. It is essential to understand that gambling addiction does not only affect one person but your family and friends as well. Some of the recommended and widely administered problem gambling treatment programs include:

  • Rehab programs
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Family therapy and counselling
  • Treatment of the underlying conditions.

Bottom Line

Problem gambling has become one of the biggest nightmares among many punters today. Many people have lost their jobs, gone bankrupt, lost relationships and marriages because of gambling addiction. Thanks to many gambling authorities around the world for making efforts to control this problem. We highly recommend that you find a new casino comparison site to find operators that promote safe and healthy gambling before you start your journey. The casino sites listed on this site have partnered with non-profit organizations that promote safe gambling. (3)

David Smith