WHAT IS A GAMBLING ADDICTION?
Gambling is the act of putting one's money or one's time at danger in the hopes of winning something more valuable. Addiction to gambling is characterised by a compulsive need to keep gambling despite the consequences to one's life. In the same way that substances may boost the brain's reward system, gambling does the same. Gambling addiction is, in fact, the most frequent impulse control disorder worldwide.
Gambling addiction may be caused by a number of variables, including a person's need for money, the excitement thereof, and the ambiance and atmosphere of the gambling establishment.
THE AFFECTS ON THE BRAIN
The release of dopamine in the brain is linked to gambling addiction. Up to 10 times the usual amount of dopamine is released in the brain while misusing substances. After repeated usage, the body becomes tolerant to the stimulant, reducing its natural synthesis of dopamine and increasing its need on the stimulant in order to get the same rush.
In the same way that persons with substance use disorders seek stronger doses or bigger quantities, those addicted to gambling engage in riskier activities and wager larger sums of money to achieve the same level of enjoyment. In addition, both persons with substance use disorders and compulsive gambling tendencies have withdrawal symptoms while attempting to quit.
DANGERS OF GAMBLING ADDICTION
The large debt that builds over time is one of the most severe impacts of a gambling addiction. It is usual for persons with a gambling addiction to lose their employment, since they often leave work or disregard their responsibilities in order to gamble. To support their addiction, many problem gamblers engage in illicit actions, such as theft or fraud.
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