Gambling Effects And Dangers

When someone thinks about behavioral addiction, their first thought probably jumps to gambling. It is the most common, or at least the most well-known, form of behavioral addiction. It is the most well-known and the only one that has an “official” diagnosis.

It has been around for decades, even longer if not in name. Gambling addiction is when someone can’t stop gambling despite negative consequences. They continue to gamble even as they fall into financial ruin and lose relationships.

Forms of gambling:

  • Betting on outcomes (horse racing, sports, etc.)
  • Bingo
  • Casino games like poker, roulette, slot machines
  • Internet gambling or apps
  • Gaming gambling
  • Lottery and scratch off tickets

Addiction doesn’t start the first time someone does the activity. Like all things it progresses. They start gambling now and again for fun or to blow off steam. But eventually it takes over with a life of its own, and the person finds their lives out of control.

As soon as they have to keep gambling, it is an addiction.

Pathological Gambling and Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction and pathological gambling are pretty much the same things overall.  It is an impulse control disorder. That means people cannot control themselves when it comes to that activity.

There are ten ways to define pathological gambler.

  1. Obsessed with gambling. They think about previous gambling and start planning their next gambling session. Or they may try to figure out a way to get funds to gamble with.
  2. Tolerance grows. So you need to gamble more to get more excitement.
  3. Get angry if you try to stop gambling.
  4. Gambling again because of a loss from last time.
  5. Lying to loved ones about when you gamble or how often.
  6. If you gamble because you’re depressed or anxious.
  7. If you tried to stop gambling but found that you couldn’t.
  8. Doing illegal things to try and get more money to gamble with.
  9. Having loss that can damage relationships, work, or life.


Trying to get money from others to gamble with even if you’ve lost all your money because of gambling.

If you find that five or more of the list above applies to you then you might have a gambling problem. If you can’t control your gambling, then you need to get help. It is dangerous and risky to keep going

How Do You Become a Problem Gambler?

There isn’t one way to say how someone can become a problem gambler. No set class of rules or directives to avoid. It is a possibility for anyone to develop a problem. But some people might be more at risk than the average person.

There are definitely known connections between different problems though. Such as drug or alcohol addiction, mood or personality disorders.

Why Is Gambling Addictive?

Basically, the answer to this is in the brain. The brain has a reward system. This means that the brain releases a chemical called dopamine that makes a person feel good or happy. Because gambling is a game of chance, there is a dopamine rush when you win. That makes it a lot more desirable to experience.

If a reward is given it releases more dopamine than when one is expected. Surprises are actually more fun. When it comes to gambling, you are generally more likely to lose than to win. So when you win, it is an unexpected rush of good feeling.

This can lead to people gambling so they can feel that rush. This is similar to how drug and alcohol addiction work. Mainly because a high is a release of dopamine from the brain.