Offline Gambling Addiction
For many people, gambling can be harmless fun. A trip to a betting shop may be a way to relax at the end of a busy week, or a visit to a casino with friends could be an exciting addition to the weekend. Yet, for some people, the highs associated with gambling, followed by the risks and loss of money, can often lead to a cycle and a casino addiction.
To some, casinos offer a glamorous lifestyle with locations, such as Las Vegas, alluring gamblers from all around the world. The competitive aspect appeals to some, whereas the chances of winning huge jackpots appeal to others, and some may even see it as a financial solution.
Casinos are attentive to when their users are close to giving up and analyse behaviours that show players are close to throwing in the towel, whether this is taking a significant loss, lack of funds, or boredom. Like any other business, hosts and owners will do their best to avoid this behaviour; whether through a savvy casino layout or offering free drinks. Although online gambling may provide players with 24/7 access, a casino experience will hook a user to ensure maximum spend, whilst also offering them a closer physical interaction with the prizes and winnings up for grabs.
Who’s at risk of a casino addiction?
Studies show that people with a tendency to addiction or people that already have an addiction are at higher risk of developing a gambling addiction. Genetic and neurological factors play a part in this. People who may be at higher risk of developing an addiction are:
- Those with an impulsive nature
- Those with lower levels of serotonin
- Those with current or previous addictions
Due to the nature of casinos—the bright lights, busy lobbies, fast-paced environments, and of course, alcohol and other substances—users with current drug and alcohol addictions may find responsible gambling even harder. For people with a casino addiction, the high of placing a bet can sometimes even feel the same as the high from drinking or taking drugs.
People should not view gambling as a financial problem. Instead, they should view it as a psychological and emotional issue that comes with financial consequences. Those with a betting addiction may experience senses of hopelessness after losing bets or large amounts of money, which in long-term cases, can lead to anxiety and depression. These psychological symptoms often then lead to physical symptoms. It is common to associate anxiety and depression with lack of sleep, which may result in weight loss or gain, a change in skin colour, and dark circles around the eyes.
Casino addictions often affect the users’ families and friends too. If an addict is spending a lot of time in a casino, they will miss out on social events and plans with family and friends, all whilst betting away savings and well-needed funds. Following this will also be any possible side effects of a casino addiction, such as anxiety or depression.
Anyone who is unsure if they or a loved one is struggling from a gambling addiction should ask if the user could stop if needed, if the answer is no, then there is likely an addiction present. There is no medical cure for a gambling addiction; yet, you can ease the side effects of the addiction, such as anxiety or depression, with medical help, whilst you can help the initial addiction with talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy.
For more information on the treatments services offered by Charterhouse Clinic for gambling addiction, please visit our gambling addiction treatment page.