Pathological Gambling

Jun 7, 2024 Gambling

Whether it’s the lottery, scratch-offs, slot machines or even betting on a football game, gambling involves risking something of value – such as money – for a chance to win. While most people gamble, a small number develop serious problems. In fact, pathological gambling has been compared to substance use disorder since the 1987 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III).

Problem gambling is a complex issue with many contributing factors, including:

Genetic predisposition and family history. Personality traits, like low impulse control and impulsivity. Psychological disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Situational triggers, such as financial difficulties, stress, and boredom. Negative life events, such as work-related and familial conflicts. Other activities that promote risk-taking and pleasure seeking, such as drinking alcohol and drugs.

When you gamble, your brain releases dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter. This helps you experience the excitement of winning. Unfortunately, it can also lead you to gamble more, even when you’re losing. This cycle can be dangerous and can have lasting effects on your life.

Gambling is a fun and entertaining activity, but it’s important to remember that you’re not making any real money. Before you enter a casino, set a limit for how much money you’re willing to lose and stick to it. It is also important to tip your dealers regularly – either by handing them a chip and saying, “This one’s for you” or placing bets on their behalf.