How The State Of Your Mental Health Can Lead To Gambling

How The State Of Your Mental Health Can Lead To Gambling

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Many of us are only aware of how gambling may affect our mental health. Few of us understand how underlying disorders may lead to an addiction. Yes, your mental well-being can also influence your likelihood of frequenting casinos and related websites.

Being aware of this relationship can help us determine the signs of problem gambling earlier. Doing so will allow us to keep watch over our loved ones as well as ourselves.

Now, let’s discuss how our mental state can lead to problems with gambling.

Impulsivity Can Lead To Gambling

When someone is impulsive, they tend to act without thinking things through. It’s essentially “do now, think about the consequences later.” Instinct drives their behavior, and they often do so to gain pleasure or positive results. For instance, purchasing a cake when you only need to get essentials is an impulsive act.

However, impulsivity also frequently involves risky actions. Examples of such are running across the street without checking both sides, driving when drunk, and destroying property. Meanwhile, an example of an impulsive control disorder is Kleptomania, which is the uncontrollable urge to steal something.

Impulsivity characterizes numerous conditions, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Bipolar Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Those with such may be more likely to gamble and later develop an addiction to it.

Due to their ADHD, those with this condition may turn to card games and slot machines to deal with boredom. It’s because such acts satisfy their need for stimulation. A French study found out that, of the three symptoms of ADHD, impulsivity had the most substantial ties to excessive gambling.

As for bipolar disorder, manic phases are characteristically impulsive. During mania, individuals have disinhibited social behavior, higher self-confidence or grandiosity, and impaired judgment. They tend to have elated or extreme moods. All these factors can lead them to impulsively gambling. 

Gambling As A Coping Mechanism

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Similarly, people may also tend to gamble to cope with the difficulties they face. Those with mood disorders may find it challenging to deal with their emotions. In turn, they may use cards and betting to get by.

Depression, for example, isn’t only a product of gambling addiction. Gambling can be a new source of happiness for someone who has lost interest in their other hobbies and daily activities. But it can also be the cause of such a problem.

Winning at Blackjack or betting on the right horse can alleviate feelings of helplessness and extremely low self-esteem. It can provide instant gratification for someone who continually feels low. 

Individuals may also gamble so that they can relieve stress. Instead of de-stressing through healthy methods such as exercising, journaling, or simply watching television, they choose to escape their problems by turning to the tables or the horses.

Moreover, having other harmful coping mechanisms can also lead to gambling addiction. For instance, researchers also link substance abuse to this problem. One reason is that drinking and gambling often happen at the same time. People like to enjoy alcohol as they play Poker and other games at the table.

Physical Factors In The Brain

With mental health disorders, there may still be an essential physical aspect. For example, while external factors may cause depression, it also has a biochemical component. While these chemicals are not the sole cause of mood disorders, they still play a significant role.

Nerve cell connections and growth, and nerve circuits can impact a person’s mental health. They are also involved when it comes to addictions, such as problem gambling. When someone wins at a game or places a bet, the brain’s rewards system releases dopamine

A person who has depression is likely to turn to dopamine-inducing activities such as gambling, since they may experience low levels of this chemical. Such activities can thus have a cyclical pattern.

Summary

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When we think about the relationship between gambling and mental health problems, we believe the former leads to the latter. However, it can also be the other way around. The challenges we face with our mental well-being can make us more likely to try to gamble. It can also set us on the path to addiction or problem gambling.

Impulsivity is a characteristic of conditions such as bipolar disorder and ADHD. Being impulsive could mean going to the casino and placing large bets without first thinking it through.

Gambling can also be a coping mechanism for those struggling with their mental health. Winning provides immediate happiness or gratification. It also gives individuals a sense of purpose or connection to others.

Mental health and gambling is indeed a cyclical pattern. We must reach out to our loved ones and seek professional help to break the cycle. Taking care of our mental well-being is also a way of avoiding gambling addiction’s slippery slope.

How Gambling Affects The Family

Gambling as an addiction isn’t as prominent as other forms of addiction that involve the consumption of substances. There are fewer people who take gambling seriously as alcoholism or drug addiction.

However, betting games can do just as much psychological damage as any other obsessive behavior. It also affects family members of the gambler. Being aware of these effects can help families avoid further harm and start the process of healing.

Addictive Escape

What makes gambling compelling is the rush and thrill of placing bets. The prospect of winning big time, combined with the flashy ambiance and fellow players’ company, can be an exciting pastime for many people. Many games, such as slot machines, are carefully designed to create a positive experience for the player.

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Someone who might be going through problems in life may find solace in a casino. They get to experience a temporary bliss, enabling them to forget about their problems for a few hours. Typically, friends and family serve as support systems. Still, gamblers replace them with gambling, an activity where they can ignore their troubles for a while. 

Naturally, many people who first try out gambling start to crave the experience. They look forward to the next session, sometimes to the point of compulsion. If the addiction becomes more potent, they might start to forgo activities like family bonding to spend more time in the casino.

According to Karen Finlay, Ph.D., “gamblers in a casino will stay much longer, feel better, and bet more. Perhaps they might incur bigger losses, but they’ll most probably return.”

Scarcity and Debt

The problem with gambling is that designers ensure that the games earn casino revenue in the long run. While jackpots and other wins may seem to give players more money than they spend, the house makes money in the long term.

Long-time players nearly always lose money. However, the addiction compels the player to continue playing even at enormous costs.

Gamblers might start to take away money from the family. Cash meant to pay for bills may suddenly end up as bets. Players may start taking on loans, sometimes from predatory sharks, to finance their plays. They might even sell some of their belongings to get more money.

Unfortunately, some families continue to enable the behavior by making it easier for the person to keep on playing. Some spouses might willingly give their partners cash or bail them out of their financial problems. While these actions may seem supportive, they only facilitate the person to become more addicted to gambling.

Interpersonal Problems

Many people struggle with gambling. They want to break free from the addiction but might find it exceedingly difficult. Their self-esteem may drop when they are unable to resist as they feel powerless against their habits.

This lack of confidence, coupled with the frustration of being unable to break free, can strain their relationships with family members.

Family bonding is a powerful tool for lending support and strengthening bonds. It plays a role in making loved ones more robust, as each member reaches out to people going through problems.

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However, gambling and other addictions compromise family bonds. Many people with addictions withdraw from other people out of shame. Those who refuse to believe that there’s a problem might push them away.

Frustrations can also build up inside other family members. They might become angry that the person is unable to stop gambling. Some of them may fail to understand the power of addiction and become unable to sympathize with the gambler.

From their anger, they may lash out against the person, igniting more fights and adding to the stress faced by the family.

Health Impacts

Addictions can ruin lives. Being in debt and having constant fights over gambling can profoundly impact the family members’ mental health. Furthermore, the family support system can deteriorate as family relationships become strained.

For example, the spouse of the gambler might start to lose their trust. They may become paranoid whenever cash disappears and pin the blame on the player. Instead of being a source of support, the family can become a breeding ground for negativity.

If this unhealthy environment continues, family members may develop mental conditions. The risk of falling into depression or anxiety can increase as the situation seems to become more hopeless.

Physical health is also in danger once the situation involves violence. All the stress and pain can lead people towards physical alterations, which only makes the situation worse.

Ways To Cope

While the situation may look grim, there are still ways to stop the addiction. The most crucial step is to seek mental health services.

A mental health professional would help you find ways to avoid triggers and fight against the urge to play. They would also help the family understand the situation and form a secure support system to help the gambler rehabilitate.

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The family members should also educate themselves on gambling addiction. They should know how to avoid enabling behaviors and how to lend emotional support properly. Finally, love and understanding should always be the family’s priority to foster a supportive environment that leads to healing.

Gambling has many intense effects on the family. Nevertheless, knowing the addiction symptoms can help families take early action to fight against addiction. 

 

 

Why Online Gambling Is Forbidden Even While Staying At Home

Although many people are getting mad at the government for forcing us to stay at home, a lot more are thankful for the opportunity to avoid social interactions. Everyone knows that that’s how the coronavirus spreads—by practically having different individuals close to your personal space. But when you are cooped up in the house, you will not only be safe from the disease but also have time for activities that you love.

On that note, we hope that you will use your free time to do something amazing for yourself or your family and not spend it on online gambling. Here’s why.

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You Need To Save Your Money For More Essential Expenditures

The first reason why you should lay off online gambling is that most businesses are unstable these days. If you do not work in the food or health industry, you are most likely at home, working partially. It entails that you have not been getting your full salary, but there is not much change in your monthly bills.

Because of the latter, you will be irresponsible to spend what little money you have on online gambling. That is especially true if you got kids depending on you. Instead, you should save your cash for buying essential items. 

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It Will Not Help Curb Your Gambling Issues

I have met one too many individuals who insist that they are resolving their gambling problems by doing it online. Some even take pride in the fact that they no longer go to casinos and stay there until they run out of money. However, kindly answer a few questions below:

    • Do you still spend dollars on the games?
    • Are your eyes glued on the screen for hours?
    • Do you lose sleep over it?

If you say yes to all of that, then your issues are far from being in the past. You must avoid any form of gambling so that your life can return to normal.

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You May Get Scammed And Fall Into Depression

The COVID-19 pandemic sent millions of people in panic mode, to the extent that supermarkets ran out of toilet paper rolls and other essentials. Worse, many businesses had to shut down, thus increasing the unemployment rate in the country. The desperation that stems from this occurrence tends to push some folks to do awful things, particularly creating fake online gambling sites to scam bored gamblers. 

Well, losing a few hundred dollars to scammers may not bother you if you are a multi-millionaire. But for individuals who gamble in hopes of making a quick buck, that can depress you. There is always a 50% chance of getting scammed when online gambling, so you should not do it at all.

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It May Contribute To The Weakening Of Your Immune System

Online gambling is worse than going to casinos. After all, you can start playing as soon as you wake up; you won’t need to get dressed and drive to the establishment. The required virtual funds are not too high, so you may never have to take out a loan or do anything drastic. 

Despite all that, these pros of online gambling can cause you to continue playing until the wee hours often. Instead of sleeping and resting, you can’t take your eyes off the screen. The more you embrace this habit, the more your immune system may weaken, thus inviting viruses to plague your body.

Final Thoughts

Online gambling will never be okay, even if it is legal in the United States. Please do not use your boredom at home as an excuse to start doing it, especially when there are more meaningful activities to do indoors. E.g., cooking, cleaning, playing board games, etc. If you want to have enough money for all your expenses during this pandemic, you should remove online gambling from your budget plans.

Why Can’t You Gamble During Lockdown?

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I am all-praises for massive establishments that have decided to close their business during this pandemic. I refer to everything from malls to resorts to casinos. That is especially true for the latter, considering they have stayed open 24/7 before the coronavirus outbreak. It shows how much they care for their customers and staff members.

What makes me unhappy nowadays, though, is hearing my 88-year-old grandfather complaining about the lack of casinos available in Vegas. He used to gamble every weekend before his retirement, but he has been going to various casinos several times a week after that. No one in the family seemed to want to stop it, given that Grandpa worked so hard to put his kids to school.

I don’t know if it is because of old age, but Grandpa does not understand why there should be a lockdown. It’s not that he is unaware of the death toll; he watches the news with us. He asks me every morning, “Kid, can you check if Golden Nugget, Wynn, or Caesars Palace is already open?” Each time, too, my answer is always, “No, Grandpa, they are not.”

Nonetheless, our family may be lucky because my grandfather is too old to try checking out those establishments alone. In case you have a loved one who does not allow the lockdown to derail their gambling activities, remind them of the following:

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It Can Prevent You From Eating Healthily

Many casinos are incredible, in the sense that they let the players order food and drinks. Everyone needs sustenance to stay through the night, after all. It brings in more profits to the business, too.

However, a lot of the gamblers I know seldom have time to think about healthy meals. Whether they are winning or losing, they compensate for what’s happening by eating comfort foods. E.g., fries, burgers, pizzas, etc. Such a habit tends to lower your immunity, thus keeping you from avoiding the coronavirus.

It Makes You Prone To Sleep Deprivation

One of the reasons why our family takes turns bringing Grandpa to and from his favorite casinos is to ensure that he goes home every night. If it is up to him, he will choose to stay awake for days in front of slot machines or Blackjack tables. But it cannot be ideal for his health—or anyone else’s health, for that matter.

Sleep deprivation can hamper your body’s ability to fight or dodge the coronavirus. It makes you too weak to do anything, to the extent that you may not think of wearing a mask or washing your hands. In the end, your immune system becomes suppressed, and you may get diagnosed with COVID-19.

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It Exposes You To So Many People

Furthermore, gambling entails that you will be playing against at least two individuals. You will touch the same cards or chips that others have already touched. How confident are you that the dealers have time to disinfect each paraphernalia in their station?

There is no way to guarantee the cleanliness of everyone and everything in a casino. That’s why the owners have decided to shut the establishment down temporarily. That’s also why gamblers need to stop doing this activity for the time being.

Final Thoughts

Gambling is almost impossible to remove from a person who has been doing it for decades. Once the pandemic is over, and the casinos open again, I can foresee my grandfather as one of the folks waiting at the entrance. Despite that, try to coax your gambling loved ones to divert their attention to other hobbies while the coronavirus wreaks havoc out there.

Good luck!

Top Apps for Addiction Recovery

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The 2017 Los Angeles International Conference on Addictive Disorders and Alcoholism was a platform to promote a variety of cases concerning addiction. Professionals were invited, and each representative had different circumstances and findings that will be used to advance research on better modes of therapy.

Therapy nowadays can be flexible. It is now easier to access helpful and useful tools such as apps to aid in the recovering journey without actual monthly therapy sessions in a clinic. This advantage is a plus for people who are anxious to go to a clinic or lack money for treatment. 

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Listed below are top apps for addiction recovery. 

  1. Pear reSET is an app developed by Pear Therapeutics. It is a prescription digital therapeutics company that specializes in producing validated software as tools in helping patients. This app is known for its 12-week program schedule. The program schedule includes engaging lessons along with complementary quizzes to keep the user on track of their progress. (Free App but needs a prescription)
  2. Sober Grid is an app that enables users to create profiles that can be anonymous or not. It allows users to interact and communicate with people who are also in recovery. It is for people who are always traveling because they can check in on a place using a GPS and, at the same time, find other recovering people in the area. (Free App)
  3. Nomo – Sobriety Clock is an app useful for people who want to be tracked and need to track their progress. With the clock function, users can easily mark events during their sobering journey and share it with people like their family, friends, and partner. (Free App)
  4. rTribe is an app that enables users to create anonymous or real profiles. The profiles can be used to communicate with fellow recovering people. With this, the user will feel less alone in the journey. The app can also record the user’s progress, with complete records for a day, relapses and triggers can be traced. Fun fact: former addicts developed it. (Free App)

Technology created a hassle-free option for almost everything. Now is the right time to utilize its function for the better, and that includes health.