The Physical and Psychological Effects Gamblers Can Experience

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Gambling, while a fun and profitable practice, could have adverse effects on one’s bodyand mind if not undertaken properly. 

While there’s no proof gambling could affect someone physically, the psychological effects are scary enough to keep people away. Gambling has been a pastime for as long as there have been things to wager on but it’s still growing in popularity given the integration of online gaming. Also, gambling is mostly legal in the United States right now, with just a few states yet to pass laws permitting any adult to place a bet.

You don’t have to live in a state where gambling is approved either, as long as you’re there at the time. Take Arizona, where approved sports betting has been a thing – you could be from anywhere in the world but can place bets on events once you’re old enough and you’re physically present there.

People no longer have to step out of their homes to bet on sports futures or other outcomes. You could find betting odds on just about anything nowadays, including whether intelligent life will ever be found out there in the galaxy or who will be the next president. You could even find bets on the exact spot a certain cow will take a dump. That’s just how easy it is to gamble today.

People don’t only gamble to make money, there are a number of other reasons one might choose to. There’s the adrenaline rush, the socialization aspect, or a certain measure of exerting control. While gambling could be fun and profitable, it could quickly get out of control. 

You’ll know you’re in a dangerous spot when you find yourself playing with more money than you’re willing to lose, borrowing cash to fund your gambling, pawning, or even stealing to keep the game going. If you’re gambling when you should be spending time with your family or working, it’s also a sign. 

Gambling could have very bad psychological effects such as stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and even depression. It can become an addiction, much like drugs and alcohol, and persons who have reached such a stage admit they have no control over the habit.

The practice has the ability to impact the part of the brain that releases dopamine, which is a hormone that causes one to feel pleasurable and rewarded. When folks win bets, the brain releases an emotional reward. An addiction to gambling sometimes means other pleasurable activities lose their appeal, causing one to keep gambling in order to keep getting a buzz.

“Gambling activates the brain’s reward system in a similar way that a drug does,” reports.. “Even when a gambler is losing, their body is still producing adrenaline and endorphins, which encourages them to continue gambling.  

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“Over time, the gambler develops a tolerance to gambling, it becomes less rewarding, and they may find that they need to take bigger gambling risks in order to feel the same excitement as they did when they first started gambling. In other words, the brain becomes conditioned and yearns for more dopamine to trigger its reward system.”

Gambling addiction has also been linked to thoughts of suicide. This one should be taken very seriously and, should you ever have thoughts of taking your life or lose confidence in your ability to keep yourself safe from yourself, seek help immediately – call an emergency number, and let a family member or close friend know.

Persons who already have mental health problems stand more risk from the harmful effects of gambling as they could turn to it to make themselves feel better about themselves when they feel depressed or to distract themselves if they’re angry. 

Fortunately, though, there is a way back. Brain chemistry can be reverted and folks can find regular life enjoyable again. For persons suffering from mental health issues, there’s more to be done.

You could talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about how gambling could affect your mental health. It could be treated in the same way other addictions are handled, with treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) available. 

Most times, financial crises are what get people to seek help for their gambling addictions but the mind is way more important than money, so treatment should be sought much quicker. Persons with gambling problems tend to think very differently about betting than others as they believe that they are more likely to win than they actually are. Some reckon certain rituals increase their chances of winning. Perhaps the biggest pitfall is believing one can recoup losses by gambling some more. 

Treatments like CBT take such beliefs into account and factor in how one feels and behaves when they’re keen on gambling at a particular moment.

Gambling could be very beneficial when done right. There are plenty of resources that could instruct one on successful gambling methods that won’t harm financially or psychologically.

Article edited and fact checked by our editorial team