Gambling Addictions - How Is the Mind Tricked? Why Is It So Easy to Fall?

No one sets out on the path of gambling to fall prey to addiction, otherwise known as problem gambling. This addiction or fixation is a compulsive and progressive behaviour that could have severe psychological, physical, and social consequences. Nowadays, it is relatively easier to get hooked on gambling since it is more easily accessible than before.

Gambling addiction

Due to the increased problem gambling, it is now a public health issue in several nations. Also, there are several key things to understand about problem gambling, and that is what we want to delve into.

Causes of Problem Gambling

Sometimes, people that develop addictions are seemingly reliable and responsible individuals. The following are some of the causes of gambling fixation:

Problem gambling causes
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Stress
  • Retirement or change of jobs
  • Loneliness

Symptoms of Gambling Disorder

This disorder has several signs and symptoms, and here are some of them.

  • Having a feeling of restlessness or irritability when you are not gambling
  • The excessive urge to gamble away huge amounts of money to get the same buzz
  • Inability to stop or control gambling
  • Chasing losses, wanting to regain lost money by staking more
  • Risking meaningful jobs, relationships, etc. because of gambling

How Exactly Does Gambling Addiction Occur?

Normally, a regular gambler stops after a loss or series of losses. This, however, is not the case with an addict. They are willing to keep playing with the mind of recovering from the losses, and this becomes a trend that eventually becomes an addiction.

Often, such people are ready to risk their savings, meaningful relationships, and more, all for the sake of gambling. The question then is, what makes it so addictive? To answer this, we will look at three steps.

The Thrill of Uncertainty

Gambling involves a certain sense of uncertainty since the odds are hardly in favour of the player. This means that the chances of winning are very slim. However, this uncertainty also means that when the player hits the jackpot, there is a feeling of contentment and short-term happiness. This is a result of dopamine levels, and it is for this feeling that addicts keep on playing. It also makes them ignore any warning signs of financial repercussions.

Near Wins and Misses

In gambling, there are some cases whereby you hit the jackpot only by a very narrow margin and also cases of missing by a hair. Each of these instances 'fools' the brain into producing large amounts of dopamine. When this happens, the player is deceived into believing they will win the next stake. The prospect of winning big is so enticing, and it goes on like that until the player enters a state of financial ruin.

Visual Prompts in Casinos

Casinos are usually brightly-coloured with amazing soundtracks. These are subtle mechanisms to ensure you keep playing and induce a change in behavioural patterns. Frequently, this could cause a gambler to keep playing even after several losses if they cannot resist the pull. Ultimately, this leads to a life of problem gambling.

Is There Treatment for Problem Gambling?

Yes, there are treatments for gambling addictions, and we will list the major ones below. If treated properly, it is manageable, and the person needs a proper, healthy, and balanced relationship with money.

Rehabilitation Programs

Whether inpatient or outpatient, rehabilitation is one of the more common ways to deal with this addiction. Here, such addicts attend classes at a facility, and there could also be group counselling or support sessions. Often, people find out that self-help groups help them overcome their addictions more effectively.

Therapy and treatment


This is another effective way of resolving the problem of this addiction. Whether cognitive behavioural therapy or psychotherapy, you can benefit from personal therapy sessions. In most instances, problem gambling is a projection of deeper emotional issues. Thus, such issues need to be tackled to refrain from self-destructive ways. And therapy is an avenue to discuss these problems critically.


For some, treatment may involve the use of medication. For such people, gambling addictions may result from mental health disorders such as being bipolar. Therefore, before dealing with the addiction, you must first manage the health condition to develop better impulse control.

Things to Note

While some choose to stigmatise those with this addiction, it should not be so. Here are some things to note about this uncontrollable urge.

Gambling addiction is an emotional problem

Gambling fixation is not a financial problem as some believe; rather, it is an emotional issue that brings negative financial repercussions. This is because a problem gambler tends to make several irrational monetary decisions, all in a bid to satisfy their addiction.

Problem gambling has the same effect as drug addiction

Although the symptoms of this type of addiction are not as physically obvious as that of drugs, the effects of both are identical. There is a buzz or feeling of 'high' that comes with gambling, even when one is losing. And this is attributed to the production of adrenaline and endorphins. Thus, gamblers with a fixation keep returning because of this buzz, just like drug addicts.

It could happen to anyone

This problem could happen to anyone, and it is impossible to foretell who has addictive tendencies. Furthermore, in most cases, the person might be unaware that they have a problem with addiction.


Gambling is recreational but becomes an issue when you become addicted; it is why casinos and other platforms such as gambling forums encourage responsible gaming. If you discover that you or anyone close to you has this addiction problem, seek the help you need and deal with it as soon as possible.