How Gambling Can Become an Addiction



Gambling involves betting something of value on a random event with the hope of winning a prize. It can be a form of entertainment, and for many people it is fun and harmless. But for others, it can become an addiction. People who are addicted to gambling often experience negative consequences on their finances, relationships, work performance, and mental health. In addition, they can end up in debt and even lose their homes.

Although it is easy for some to justify their behavior, it’s important to understand that the person who gambles may have a number of reasons. These reasons may include the need for a thrill, to escape from reality, or to feel special. They also may be using gambling as a way to meet their basic needs for status and belonging. Casinos are built around this principle and use elaborate marketing to encourage players to be ‘special’ and to feel like a member of an exclusive club.

When someone becomes dependent on gambling, it is often because they have developed a tolerance to the pleasure. As they bet more and more, their brain’s response to the pleasure-inducing chemicals is diminished. This can be compared to developing a tolerance to drugs or alcohol. The person may also have underlying issues that contribute to their addiction, such as anxiety or depression. These issues can be addressed through therapy and other support services. For example, Family therapy can help families understand the causes of their loved one’s problem gambling and learn how to support them.