Everything is fun and games until you start to play online casino in an unhealthy habit, forgoing eating, taking a bath, or even going to work. Sound familiar? Then you might be entering—or might already be in the middle of—an addiction to gambling with online casinos. This isn’t just a problem being faced by a small number of people (read more) around the world. And the pandemic that started in early December of 2019 only exacerbated the dependence.
You might be thinking there’s no way to avoid addiction when you’re being exposed to gambling and other hobbies. After all, adrenaline happens beyond our control, and the lure of feeling that fast-paced, heart thundering experience seems impossible to ignore. However, you’d be glad to know there are some ways to avoid being addicted to online casinos, whether you’re just starting to feel the effects, or you’re already there in the first place.
The First Step: Being Informed
Did you know that knowledge is a very sharp sword to wield? It can potentially help you to know about addiction. Through your gained knowledge, you can avoid pitfalls and common occurrences that usually happen when someone’s having a gambling problem. Although public awareness is a must, you must also explore this condition on your own to get extensive information that public PSAs might leave out.
What Is A Gambling Addiction?
Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling and gambling disorder, is a condition recognized and diagnosed by several experts and medical practitioners. It’s an urge to keep on gambling despite the negative outcome, and a need to keep on going even at the cost of one’s life. This extreme behavior can be chalked up to the body’s reward system, often playing with the hormone dopamine.
Dopamine gets secreted by neurotransmitters around the brain when the brain realizes a task can bring rewards after completion. This is the origin of motivation, and addiction has a different pathway in the brain. Though there are several theories, one that explains it with more logic than the others is the hacking of this reward system through playing casino online and other games. It can frequent enough that you develop an addiction to the said activity that started this.
What happens in the brain has something to do with the amygdala, the emotional brain. The dopamine signals there enhance the “feelings” one gets when they hack the reward system, therefore enhancing happiness and satisfaction in a positive situation. However, if things go wrong, the feeling of despair also increases for the individual. This, however, has an opposite effect on said individual.
In other words, when online gambling goes wrong, instead of stopping the individual will continue to gamble and lose money until they win again and achieve the feeling of satisfaction. This can potentially drain their money, steal away important time and completely alter everything in their life.
Types Of Gambling Addiction
1. Game-Focused Addiction
People suffering from this kind of gambling addiction are often hooked on the game itself, in whatever form it takes. Bingo, slot machines, blackjack, you name it. This type of gambling problem can be considered the lesser evil of the three, as it has a lesser chance of becoming something severe.
2. Cash-Focused Addiction
This type is related—as the name suggests—to matters of money. The person in question sees the potential of easy and fast cash and abuses this opportunity at the cost of their scant resources. Some can call this foolishness, but it can be called a behavioral problem as well.
3. The “High” Addiction
The most common and rather severe form of gambling addiction is the one that hacks the reward system the most. Players here play for the pure adrenaline rush and thrill and could care less about how much money they lose or how much time they waste. This type can be likened to those who have alcohol and drug problems, which makes it more difficult to manage and treat.
While those suffering from addictions with tangible causes, those with the opposite, such as gambling and sex, have very narrow options of drug therapy. Turning their life around relies on the person’s decision and will to change, and a lot of effective therapy. However, this can be said for those who have severely fallen into addiction and need assistance to get back on their feet.
Steps To Avoid Or Get Out Of Addiction
1. Acknowledge The Problem
To counter your problem, you need to know the signs of an impending one. If you’re experiencing one or more of these signs, you might have developed—or well on your way to develop—an addiction:
- The need to bring up the stakes higher each round
- Irritability and restlessness when away from your phone or computer
- Skipping work, important events, and even sleep just to gamble
- Using gambling to escape or cope with stress
- Lost relationships due to continuous gambling
- Financially struggling to live day by day because of excessive betting and losses
If you face the problem and call it by its name, you’ll feel a sense of freedom from it, and then start to counter it properly with support and other means.
2. Go Out With Friends And Family
Being away from your phone and computer can be an effective way of avoiding temptation. On top of that, you can get fresh air, see different sights, and even build strained relationships. Being stuck in a room without any real human interaction can decline one’s health quickly, especially if you’re not doing basic necessary hygiene or eating properly.
3. Discover Other Hobbies To Get Busy With
Realize that there is a life beyond excessive gambling, and this can effectively lessen your time with gambling. You can try meditating, doing sports, volunteering, or even traveling to other places. Anything to get off your mind of gambling for a while, until you’re finally ready to tackle it once again, with sound judgment this time.
Online gambling isn’t bad per se, but it can become destructive if you don’t regulate your time and resources properly. You can continue your hobby of playing online casinos and games, but knowing the signs of addiction can also assure you’ll play without repercussions and life-altering conditions.