Gambling Starts Off Innocent
It might start at a friendly game of poker or blackjack or a first trip to the casino. Gambling addiction is what is called a process addiction. Gambling is not a substance, but an entire process. One becomes addicted to every phase of gambling as they see it, becoming consumed by the lifestyle.
Winning feels good and is an addictive psychological motivator. As a gambler starts to win, they feel encouraged to place bigger bets with more risk. Addicts of any kind are prone to risk taking and reckless behavior. Even when betting out of the negative, sitting in debt, someone who is becoming addicted to gambling finds a thrill. The prospect of winning becomes more tantalizing than the winning itself, which causes gambling to increase. Gambling turns from an occasional game to bookies, small bets, and losing much more money.
Gambling Causes Depression And Anxiety
Gambling develops a threshold and tolerance similar to abuse of drugs and alcohol. A gambler needs higher risks, higher wins, and even higher losses to feel any pleasure. Simultaneously, they are experiencing crippling debt, loss of job, relationship, and finance. Commonly, gambling addicts develop a co-occurring substance use disorder such as cocaine or alcohol. The combination of these factors leads to the development of depression and/or anxiety.
Depression And Anxiety Cause More Gambling
Gambling becomes a coping mechanism for addicts. Though gambling is a source of their problems, they continue to gamble to cope with that problem. In a relentless cycle, the gambling worsens depression and anxiety which creates a compulsion for more gambling.
Gambling Becomes Unmanageable
Quickly, gambling becomes unmanageable. A gambling addict is unable to regulate their emotions, their gambling, or anything in their lives. Unable to stop betting, even when they win money, they will continue to gamble until it is all gone and they are in debt once more.
Eventually, the gambling has to stop. Drinking, drug use, and compulsive gambling have reduced the quality of life to being beyond recognition. Many gamblers take themselves to a meeting of gamblers anonymous or alcoholics anonymous. Some reach out to family members for help.
If you or a loved one are in need of help to treat a gambling addiction and co-occurring substance abuse problem, call Aurora today. Our dual diagnosis treatment center welcomes all who seek recovery. For more information, call 844-515-STOP.