Gambling is a £15bln industry in the UK. Most of healthy gamblers use gambling as a form of entertainment, for camaraderie and excitement. However there is a small group of people, who develop pathological or problematic gambling habit.

Gambling addiction can have a devastating effect on the individual and their families. The inability to stop can lead to financial and employment problems, family breakdowns, mental health problems and even criminal acts.

Why do people gamble?

So why do gamblers carry on, despite knowing the fact, that “house always wins” and the chance of them losing money is extremely high?

Research (using brain imagining) shows that central brain’s region, called striatum, releases dopamine when human receives monetary wins. It is a part of reward circuit in the brain,  that also responds to natural stimuli like food, sex but also drugs like cocaine. 

Near-misses make gamblers to play for longer and place larger bets. Gambling also gives you an illusion of control – most gamblers believe that after near-miss, the next will be their win and they have a control over it, by choosing certain numbers/cards etc.

Apart from checking biological determinants, it is important to look at psychological reasons of gambling.

How problematic gambling affects life and how to stop it?

Many seek gambling to escape stress and frustration of life. It could be an unhealthy coping strategy to deal with unresolved emotional pain and unsatisfied emotional needs.

Gambling, as most addictions, could involve a lot of lying to yourself and others. It is important to recognise if you or your family member’ gambling is getting out of control and search help!

For us, parents, it is important to have boundaries around video games for our children as they also use similar mechanism to gambling. This article talks about connection of gambling and video games, and how it the led to new laws in the video games industry.

In the UK you can self-exclude yourself from betting/gambling places to avoid being able to act on your urge of gambling.

Looking for deep routes of gambling addiction will produce the long-lasting effect for a positive change! As a behaviour change coach I can help with that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *