At the initial level, gambling seems to be an exciting activity but later it turns fatal for many, who become addicted to gambling. In fact, a large part of the world population is affected by gambling addiction. In America, the gambling addiction is found more in Caucasian Americans. Around 2.5 million are reported to be suffering from compulsive gambling and 15 million are likely to become problem gamblers in the coming years.What Happens in Gambling Addiction?The addicted gambler experiences a number of psychological, physical, financial and social dilemmas. Problems of alcohol and drug abuse also become associated with majority of the gambling addicts. Other problems associated with gambling addiction are mood disorder, depression and anti-social personality disorder.Gambling addiction is very closely associated with a specific medical condition termed as compulsive or pathological gambling. In compulsive gambling, an increase in the uncontrollable preoccupation of the addict takes place with gambling, despite of the negative effects involved. To continue with their addiction, they also resort to means like cheating, lying and even stealing.Studies reveal that the failures of gamblers are often perceived by them as “near win.” This is caused due to an inflated and faulty activation in their cortices’ region of the brain, which often deals with handling rewards. The gamblers are unable to comprehend that the mistakes are the same and will result in loss.According to Luke Clark, the study researcher and expert at University of Cambridge, the same system is targeted by gambling as that by drug addiction, which is the dopamine system in the brain. In gambling, the neurotransmitter dopamine gets released during the “near miss” instances.Primary Causes of Gambling AddictionIn females, this addiction is developed as a consequence of wanting to escape from unhappy situations such as broken relationships or marriages and job frustration or poor mental health such as depression, loneliness, anxiety or hopelessness. It usually affects women aged around 45 years and they gamble at places where heavy skill or experience is not required like slot machines.In males, this addiction is developed due to low self-esteem or insecurities. It usually affects men aged around 35 years and they opt for competitive table games. Instead of improving their feelings, it often leads them to debt problems, financial losses and broken relationships.Treatment of Gambling AddictionSimilar to a drug rehabilitation center, professional help treatments are provided to the addicted gamblers in terms of psychotherapy and medications. In treating this addiction, medications like anti-depressants are generally used. In psychotherapy, a useful technique is used where the gambler is asked to interpret the “near misses” in an accurate manner. Considering factors such as the addict’s age, severity of the problem and more, treatments are provided to the gamblers such as group activities and support and therapies dealing with cognitive behavior.Gambling addiction often intervenes in psychological, physical, social and vocational spheres of life. The addiction of gambling could be devastating for not only the addict but to his or her family also. The only manner by which the loved ones can be protected from this addiction is by making them aware of the facts regarding the addiction.
Websites designed to help people overcome their gambling addictions have recently been contacted by television associate producers and reporters in an effort to obtain information about individuals who have been affected by compulsive gambling addictions. In most cases, they are looking for people to come forward and share how their lives have been impacted by local gambling establishments. In the majority of these cases, people feel fear of embarrassment from family and friends and therefore, are not willing to discuss how their lives were affected.I was recently contacted by BET nightly news. They asked for help to locate people who lived within a specific geographic area whose lives were affected by gambling. Out of the five individuals I found, all refused to discuss their situations or allow someone to interview them for fear of recognition.Through my website, I Stopped Gambling So Can You
http://www.istoppedgambling.com/ I have been fortunate enough to meet people of different backgrounds and learn about their gambling addictions. They have allowed me to share their stories with others as long as I assure them that their names will be kept confidential. I have shared some of these situations with reporters and associate producers with the hope that the message would reach the politicians.One politician I spoke with said he was trying to pass a law that would prevent people from using their credit cards to buy lottery and scratch tickets at local convenience stores. At first I thought this was a joke. People who want lottery tickets will get them with or without a credit card. Lawmakers need to see the larger picture. Most people who live within sixty miles or less from gambling establishments, are negatively impacted.It’s been about ten years since the casinos opened in the state of Connecticut. People are spending more of their money there and not at the local businesses and shopping malls. Lawmakers need to realize that casinos grow very quickly in size due to the amount of money people lose. The amount money lost to gambling could be have been used to boost our economy instead.The truth is political leaders love the revenues generated by the casinos. This makes them look good to the voters because they don’t have to increase taxes. Do the political leaders care that the economy is being negatively affected? Based on my knowledge and experience in this area, I predict that in less than five years the devastation caused by gambling establishments will be seen. This can be prevented if people are educated and given the truth about this private addiction.In speaking with reporters, I have also asked why they don’t disclose the direct relationship between the amount of growth a casino has and the amount of money people lose by gambling. They have no response. The media enjoys reporting to everyone about the one individual who wins a million dollars. The media fails to mention that Casinos take in more than a million dollars a day from slot machines alone at the same time they report the million dollar winner. It’s this distorted view that sends people down the road to self destruction by hoping to win big just once.The operators at gambling establishments are very greedy people. In some states, penny slots were recently introduced as a way to attract seniors and lower income families. They believe the slots allow everyone to play such as those on social security and welfare and not just the rich. The truth is they don’t care about whom they hurt or how many lives are destroyed. The one thing I have learned is that all gambling establishments do not discriminate. If you have money, they will gladly take it with a smile.Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT ran a promotion in which they mailed out $50 dollar vouchers in an effort to bring people into the casino. In one week I heard from over fifteen people who actually used these vouchers but lost anywhere from one hundred to over a thousand dollars in just one visit. The casinos know how to draw people in. In order to avoid temptation, compulsive gamblers have asked to be removed from the mailing list. Unfortunately, gambling establishments don’t care and will still send you information, but just not as often. During the holiday season, casinos mailed out $400 and $100 dollar vouchers for people to use at any of the gift stores located inside their establishment. Since it’s the holidays they know gamblers buy gifts too, but once they get the gambler back into the casino, they’re hooked once again. Is it unfortunate? Or was this just manipulation to get the gambler back?Based on the statistics, gambling addiction is on the rise and the economy is in trouble. Is there a relationship between the current economy and gambling establishments? When will the politicians step up and help these people? It’s up to the people to take a stand and hopefully the political leaders will step up and help these people out.I have an extensive background in dealing with compulsive gamblers, friends and family of gamblers and teenage gamblers. I believe there are many alternatives to aid in the recovery of a gambling addiction. A large percentage of emails I receive are from compulsive gamblers looking for alternatives to Gamblers Anonymous and twelve step programs. Programs such as these help a number of people each year but there is a larger percentage that needs an alternative. These are people that I am trying to reach.It is my goal to educate compulsive gamblers with options to help them beat their addiction.