I started gambling when a colleague introduced me to sports betting. It was fun. There’s a thrilling experience of watching the heightened game due to the bet that was involved. It was just a small amount, but it was so satisfying because I won that day. From there, a new habit was born. It was not long after that when I bought a couple of scratch cards and tickets to the lottery. A year after, I find myself spending most of my time in gambling machines.
I must say I enjoyed gambling because I never thought of it as a problem. But over time, I, unfortunately, developed a gambling addiction that ruins my life. My desire to gamble became so overwhelming that it led me to commit all sorts of lies. I sometimes stole things from my wife’s valuables and blow our savings out of proportion. I thought that was okay. But several signs indicated that the normal enjoyment I have for gambling has transitioned into an addiction problem.
Illusion Of Control
Every time I gamble, I believed that I often influence positive probability or chance. Depending on the kind of game I was playing, I felt that some level of control was present. Despite having some choices, whether it involves cards to discard or pick and what number or color to bet on. It was a chance that is primarily the driving force of my winning moments. Thus, it made me feel in control. I know that each new turnover always has a 50% chance. But at some point, I feel like I can always get at least 80 to 90 percent of my hunch correct. I always believed that my chances of winning are larger than they actually are.
But after I experienced multiple losses in a row, the frustration of how unpredictable gambling was led me to emotional turmoil. I overestimated the probability that something unfortunate will happen because my mind is too focused on producing immediate examples of winning from the bet.
Intensified Risk-Taking Habit
In the few first gambles I made, where I won most of it, there was always this amazing feeling. I felt like I was so lucky for gaining lots of cash without exerting that much effort. However, when I experienced a consistent loss, I became sensitive to losses that equal no gaining value. The 5 dollar loss generated a more significant emotional reaction than winning 20 bucks. It became a reason for me to endlessly spend a lot of time, energy, and money trying to ‘win back’ my previous losses. I know it was only a small amount, but my way of alleviating the feeling of disappointment or frustration is by gaining it back.
At this point, winning becomes less about excitement and more about making up for my previous losses. I found myself gradually taking more risks where I gambled more than what I can’t afford to lose. These are my relationships, family, job, and basic responsibilities. I even disregarded sleep and self-care. That is where I got stuck in a vicious cycle.
No Room For Satisfaction
Series of wins from my gambling experiences pushed me into the depths of predisposition. It was like my brain got conditioned into desiring for more. The whole gambling winning experience triggered the reward system that altered my perception of fulfillment and satisfaction. There was a negative impact in my brain where I can no longer appreciate small wins.
Gambling made me insensitive to positivity and often pushed me to do negative things. It does not make me happy anymore. It came to the point that I only gamble because I felt like I have to. My mind and body were working on their own, and that I can no longer control the gambling desire. I felt trapped, and I can’t do anything.
Dragging Everyone To The Pit
The worst financial downfall I experienced with gambling was when I gambled until all my money was gone. I was losing all the assets I invested one after another in just a blink of an eye. But still, it does not stop my gambling habit.It came to a point where my addiction leads me to borrow a lot of money from people I don’t even know, only to pay for gambling. I even find myself begging certain individuals for specific amounts. And since none of them want to lend me some cash, I often offer to make some collateral. I even arranged a deal where I put my car, house, wedding ring, and children’s educational savings on the line.
Having a gambling addiction is often characterized by denial and an unrealistic view of things. If you are like me, who suffers from a gambling addiction, seek help immediately. Because the early identification of the condition, the better the chances for successful mental illness recovery.
It was entirely hard for me to confess and admit that I am addicted to gambling. At first, I only gambled for quite a small amount of cash. I don’t often bet on games that I sure lose. But when I hit a big reward back then, I thought my chances went up. That is where I started thinking, “I might win big if I also bet a lot.” From then on, every time I gamble, I always bring a huge amount of money with me so that I can widen my chances of winning a huge amount of prices. I was so stupid to believe that my life would change for the better if I indulged in gambling my hard-earned money. I was so wrong.
Losing Friends And Family In A Blink Of An Eye
Things changed when I started losing everything. And when I say everything, it involves the significant aspects of my life that no money can amount to. My relationship with my wife suffered. I failed to communicate with her about the situation, and I never realized how hard it was for her to deal with me. As for my kids, I was always busy. I thought that my presence in the house is enough for my kids to notice me and that my gambling leisure is not affecting them. I always spent days and nights in casinos, and I was never there for my family, especially when they needed me the most.
I was so selfish and concentrated on gambling that I thought that is okay since my friends accompany me. But eventually, my peers realized that I was gambling not for leisure anymore and that I engage in the habit because I was addicted to it. Thus, they slowly kept their distance from me. I never knew I was alone until I realized that I was going to casinos all by myself.
Suffering From Declined Work Performance And Job Loss
It is not long after my work got affected by my gambling habits. I used to be a top performer in our company. I work diligently and productively that no office mates can match up to my skills. But after I got hooked on gambling, I lost all my time and energy for sleep. That is where my working performance got damaged. I couldn’t find time to relax my mind and body as I always feel pressured by many unfinished tasks in the office.
It was just a matter of days when my boss fired me, and I was so devastated. My job is all I have since my family left and my friends left me. So I was so concerned about getting it back. I was given a second chance, though. But after a few weeks, I blew it off again. I was not ready to quit my gambling habit, so I could not increase my performance level. That is where I lost my high-paying job permanently. I dealt with financial loss directed from my gambling addiction, and now I faced my only option, which is bankruptcy.
Experiencing Worst Anxiety And Depression
I always thought that gambling is good because it makes me happy. It allows me to have fun with life despite the stressors and many challenges I faced every day. I never felt the necessity to complain about sitting for hours watching the dealer tossing out the cards. But once I got home from what I thought is a happiness-filled experience, I succumbed to anxiety and depression.
I began to feel alone, and that scares me. I developed symptoms of depression that I often ignore because that is all I can do. I understand the damage to my gambling addiction, but I can’t seem to do anything about it. I want to convince myself that I am okay and that I do not need any help.
Deteriorating Physical Health
I know my decisions are something I would regret for the rest of my life. But I find it hard to quit my habit. I already lost my family, friends, stable job, so what else would I lose this time? I was certain that nothing is going to stop me from living my life the way I wanted. But that mentality is what makes it impossible to recover.
I now experienced physical health deterioration. I am suffering from chronic pains in my chest, blood pressure rising, and mood changes. I am also losing my cognitive ability due to my inability to sleep. I also find myself often strangled with muscle pain. Everything was deeply agonizing.
I know for certain that I won’t make it if I don’t seek professional advice. That is why I am seeing a counselor right now. I know that it will take me a long time before I can finally recover. But I am happy I seek out help.
One way to protect yourself from stress, anxiety, depression, and other sources of mental health-related issues is by caring for yourself and staying positive. It helps to condition your mind, body, and emotions to follow through with overall wellness. However, many people do not entirely rely on that as they more often chose medication than self-encouragement. Do not get me wrong. I am not saying that taking a prescribed pill is a bad idea. But would it be nice to emotionally and mentally heal using a different and natural approach?
So, in line with staying positive despite dealing with a mental health problem, the process is what experts call humanistic perspective psychology. Perhaps a lot of you don’t know that it existed. So allow these frequently asked questions to ease some of the confusion.
What is the humanistic perspective of psychology?
Psychology’s humanistic perspective highlights the whole person’s ability to cope instead of a medicine-centered or research-centered therapy approach. It emphasizes the individual’s notions of improving self-awareness. These include free will, self-confidence, self-actualization, and self-efficacy. Instead of focusing on dysfunction, humanistic psychology encourages people to accomplish positive results in maximizing overall well-being. An example of a humanistic approach is group therapy for families.
Since the humanistic perspective approach is bound with self-awareness, it helps individuals deal with potential stress, prevent burnout, and reduce anxiety. Though not much of it is discussed, the said approach builds a unique emotional and mental strength that helps understand oneself.
What is an example of humanistic psychology?
An example of the humanistic perspective includes sensitivity training at a place of employment. It focuses on individuals learning to value and respect their co-workers for who they are, regardless of differences. This approach leads to stronger workplace relationships and a more all-encompassing work environment.
As you can see, the humanistic perspective approach deals with people’s engagement to empathy and focus on what is positive. This idea includes people’s ability to create their own set of ethics and values that do not compromise others’ beliefs.
How is humanistic psychology used today?
Humanistic therapy remains so relevant today because it is used to treat certain mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, panic disorders, addiction, personality disorders, schizophrenia, and relationship issues. Humanistic psychology continues to empower people, enhance their well-being, and push them toward fulfilling their potential. It also helps with improving communities all over the world.
What is the main difference between humanistic psychology and psychoanalysis?
The psychoanalytic theory explains the dynamics of personality development and personality organization. It supports the idea that human nature is viewed in a very negative and pessimistic manner. Meanwhile, the humanistic approach is more optimistic about human nature as it observes the problem and attempts to use conditioning methods to resolve the problem. There is a focus on positive reinforcement to ensure a more reliable positive reinforcement.
What is the humanistic theory of personality?
Humanistic psychology emphasizes looking at the positivity of everything. It tends to navigate an optimistic perspective on human nature. There is a focus on human beings’ ability to think, act, and behave rationally and consciously to control biological urges to achieve full potential. The humanistic approach highlights the individual’s worth and develops his strength when it comes to creativity, emotional and mental intellect, and overall capacity. It encourages people to do some soul-searching and determine what is missing in their lives.
Though some people might see a loophole in this approach, others are taking it seriously. Some of them are already focused on looking only at others’ great quality and disregard the negativity. However, this may sound a little too impossible to do; some guarantee to believe in the good side of everyone.
What is the difference between Freud’s approach to the mind and Maslow’s approach?
Though both theories attempt to explain human behavior through the unconscious mind, Sigmund Freud’s approach has many mental impulses. He believes that thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are rooted in biology. Abraham Maslow, on the other hand, built upon several psychological theories to create his own. Freud saw development as object-based, and Maslow believed in a hierarchy of needs with the possibility of attaining a greater potential.
What are the four personality theories?
There are four most significant theories to the psychological study of personality. These include psychoanalytic. The personality perspective comes from the idea that a person’s behavior is determined by past experiences lodged in the unconscious mind. Then there is the trait. It refers to a characteristic that is caused by genetics. The third is humanistic. It concentrates on the person’s individual needs and improved self-awareness. Lastly, social cognition approaches. It examines the role that cognitive methods play in our social interactions related to the perception, understanding, and implementation of linguistic, auditory, visual, etc.
What does psychodynamic theory focus on?
Psychodynamic therapy emphasizes unconscious psychological processes as they are manifested in the person’s present behavior. The therapy’s goal is to boost self-awareness and understanding of the influence of the past’s interpersonal patterns on present behavior. Usually, these are childhood experiences that are crucial in shaping adult personality.
Present behavior is an important aspect of the humanistic perspective approach as it encourages affirmative feedback and locus of control that offers personal development. Moreover, the present behavior is part of individuals’ capacity for self-reflection and self-awareness. It provides them an avenue to imagine themselves positively in the future to adjust their present undesirable behavior.
What are the fundamental concepts of psychodynamic theory?
Psychodynamic theory state that almost a significant part of an individual’s childhood experiences greatly influence his adult life. Those events in his past are the ones shaping his personality as it remains in the unconscious mind. These can be his wishes and fears that he seems not fully aware of, so it might cause problems in the person’s adulthood. There is an interpretation of mental and emotional processes that will require access through denial, repression, rationalization,
How is the psychodynamic theory used today?
Psychodynamic therapy is significantly used today by most psychologists to treat anxiety, depression, and other serious psychological disorders. It helps those individuals who have lost in touch with their purpose and often questions the meaning of their lives. And since it has a lot to do with emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and early-life experiences, it is significant in dealing with difficulties of forming or maintaining personal relationships.
What is an example of a psychodynamic perspective?
People deal with emotions and unconscious patterns of behavior. Some examples of these are nail-biting that may be caused by anxiety or obsessive hand washing that could be linked to inducing childhood trauma.
Thus, this explanation supports the claim that the unconscious mind holds repressed thoughts, feelings, desires, habits, reactions, and memories that influence behavior outside of conscious awareness.
What are the benefits of psychodynamic therapy?
Most therapists primarily use psychodynamic therapy because it proves to have a significant effect in treat depression and other serious mental health disorders. It accounts for addressing the impact of childhood experiences on adult personality and overall mental health. It focuses and explores the intrinsic force that motivates an individual’s behavior. It increases self-esteem, builds confidence in personal abilities, and develops the ability to have meaningful and satisfying relationships with others. It helps in tolerating a wider range of emotions to becoming more able to face issues and difficulties.
What are the possible weaknesses of the psychodynamic approach?
The psychodynamic approach contains explanatory power in dealing with the causes of abnormality, e.g., childhood traumas. However, it lacks scientific validity. At times, its Psychoanalytic jargon serves to confuse individuals instead of offering clarifying concepts. Some of the approaches are outdated in terms of the modern world. Some practitioners and other theorists doubt it because they do not believe these ideas are medically useful.
What makes the psychodynamic approach unique?
Psychodynamic approaches are different, and its approach is unique. It has a very different focus of helping as it tries to assess a person’s psychological development according to what’s in the unconscious mind. The therapy specifies subjective experience, sense of self, behavior, and feelings as adults. The goal of the approach is to enhanced self-knowledge as well as gain long-term healing and personal growth.
What is a psychodynamic theory in counseling?
Psychodynamic therapy centers its attention on unconscious processes as they are noticeable in the person’s current behavior. The goals of psychodynamic therapy are self-awareness. It wants to bring an understanding of the person’s past that contributes a lot to present behavior. There is the focus on the fact that certain personal life predicament results from the diverse mental processes.
Casinos are not a common pastime for the ordinary person. However, the gambling industry has made it easier, to begin with, the combination of various types and venues of gambling. The harmless microtransactions we do in games, regardless of platform, can also be the beginning of uncontrolled spending, justified by the thought that it only costs so little.
Being careless about this can lead to compulsive gambling. It is a condition where one cannot control their urge to gamble despite its negative consequences to a person’s life. Even despite the pandemic, when physical gambling establishments are closed, gambling persists among people.
Now, all it takes is to have a smartphone or a computer, an internet connection, and knowledge of a reliable gambling website.
Gambling is a risk and reward process. But usually, what a person sees is only the potential reward. Due to competitiveness, one gets inclined to try again and again, thinking that the next try will give them the compensation they expect. This is very rarely the case, as the odds of winning games are slim, and thus compulsive gambling begins.
People who gamble compulsively may refuse to acknowledge their problem, thinking that this time will be the last anyway or that they will even break even and make profits the next time they gamble.
The same people tend to hide their spending from their family and friends and may resort to lies and theft when no longer able to fund their activities.
Age is a significant risk factor of compulsive gambling, as it often occurs among the youth. This part of the population grew up with microtransactions as their norm, unable to see the accrued cost of often buying small game content packets.
Another significant risk factor is pre-existing mental conditions such as anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. People with these kinds of situations are more likely to begin and get hooked to gambling.
When you notice this problem with yourself or with a loved one, the important thing is to acknowledge the problem and know that you need help. There are various ways to help get away from gambling, such as taking medication or joining self-help groups to get to know others with the same problem.
There is also the option of signing up for therapy, and this article introduces dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). The following are some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about DBT, which can help you decide whether you need it or not for your condition.
What does dialectical behavioral therapy mean?
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of talk therapy under cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. Initially, the focus of DBT was on treating borderline personality disorder (BPD) and suicidal behaviors. But with its proven benefits, the therapy has been adapted for addressing other mental health conditions.
Essentially, the term “dialectical” means bringing together both acceptance and change in therapy. It focuses on four vital therapeutic skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
What are the six main points of dialectical behavior therapy?
DBT consists of six main points where change occurs. The first stage is pre-contemplation, the second is contemplation, followed by preparation, action, maintenance, and mindfulness. The pre-contemplation point is where the patient is still unaware of the problem; meanwhile, contemplation is where realization happens.
The following points after that are where change gradually happens through therapy. The final point—mindfulness—is achieved after undergoing the process of acceptance and change in DBT.
What is the difference between cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy?
To make it simple, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). While CBT revolves around recognizing and addressing problematic thoughts, DBT’s focus is on regulating harmful behaviors.
The process of DBT delves in deeper on acceptance and management of emotions with the result of mindfulness. In a way, DBT roots from CBT’s foundation but addresses more specific concerns on destructive behaviors.
What are the main components of dialectical behavior therapy?
There are four main components of DBT, namely: skills training group, individual treatment, phone coaching, and therapist consultation team.
Skills training group: A group leader teaches essential behavioral skills, typically within 24 weeks, among clients.
Individual therapy involves boosting motivation and applying the learned behavioral skills from the skills training group in real-life events and challenges.
Phone coaching: This component aims to provide clients with coaching outside in-office therapy sessions when experiencing a difficult situation.
Therapist consultation team: This team is formed to support DBT therapists and keep them motivated while working with clients.
What does it mean to think dialectically?
The term dialectical refers to the balance or middle ground between opposing points of view. Instead of categorizing things as “black” or “white,” dialectical thinking points out that opposing points can coexist. Hence, there is no such thing as absolute when you think dialectically.
In DBT, thinking dialectically allows you to ease the thought that a bad situation will remain forever. It is the practice of accepting an adverse situation and moving forward, and working towards changing that.
Can a person with BPD really love?
A person with BPD can love and experience feelings related to love, such as affection, admiration, attraction, and desire. They also undergo different stages of love as with people not diagnosed with the condition. People with BPD typically have a high level of devotion in a romantic relationship.
However, it’s important to note that people with BPD have extremely sensitive natures. Hence, it’s likely that they will project intense behaviors and reactions in their relationships that are out of their control.
Is DBT effective for depression?
DBT provides a comprehensive therapy approach that can help with depression. Since it involves a cognitive, behavioral, and acceptance-based approach, it can effectively address the condition’s common symptoms.
DBT helps depression patients accept their situation, manage overwhelming emotions, and develop coping skills to make changes in their emotional situation.
Is DBT good for trauma?
Traumatic experiences can manifest as unwanted and intense emotions later in life. The approach of DBT helps address trauma as it helps develop self-control and keeps you grounded in the present. It allows people with trauma to regulate their mood and develop acceptance and healthy coping skills for their trauma.
How long does DBT treatment last?
While there is no fixed duration for the DBT procedure, the full course would typically take around six months to finish. A client would spend around six weeks to complete each DBT module, namely: emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness.
During these weekly sessions, the client and therapist undergo the main concepts of standard DBT. It includes the skills training group, individual treatment, phone coaching, and therapist consultation team.
Is CBT or DBT better for anxiety?
Many people have found success in anxiety treatment with CBT. Hence, it is a more common treatment for the condition than DBT. However, DBT is more helpful for addressing extreme anxiety symptoms, such as thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
Since each person responds differently with different treatment methods, it’s best to consult your mental healthcare provider regarding the matter. Psychological consultation will help you determine the best treatment option for your condition.
Does DBT work for anxiety?
Emotions linked with anxiety, such as fear, can be challenging to manage and cope up with. DBT will help you understand and acknowledge where these distressing emotions are coming from. It also provides a structure to follow in altering and regulating emotions and reactions related to anxiety.
Upon acquiring the cognitive and emotional skills in this structure, you can start applying them in your life effectively.
What are the nine symptoms of borderline personality disorder?
BPD manifests in different ways. However, as a diagnostic procedure, experts have come up with nine major categories of BPD symptoms. To get diagnosed with the condition, the patient must show at least five out of these nine symptoms. They must also have experienced these for a long-term, which usually starts during adolescence.
The nine symptoms of BPD are:
Fear of abandonment
Impulsiveness and self-destructive behaviors
Intense mood swings
Feeling of emptiness
Short temper and intense anger
Losing touch with reality
What are target behaviors in DBT?
There are three categories of target behaviors in DBT. The first is life-threatening behavior, which is any action that involves self-harm. Next are therapy-interfering behaviors, which involve patient actions and behaviors that disrupt or delay the session.
Finally, the quality-of-life-interfering behavior covers almost everything that is not imminently life-threatening, from substance abuse, relationship problems, disregarding medications, etc.
What disorders does DBT treat?
Although initially intended as a treatment for BPD, DBT has effectively addressed various mental health conditions. It is now common to use DBT to treat anxiety, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and substance abuse.
It helps people regulate emotions, develop healthy relationships, and become mindful of their thoughts and behavior.
Does DBT therapy really work?
Studies have found that it works for individuals with diverse backgrounds and demographics. However, the best results are seen with clients who are entirely willing to reach acceptance and undergo recovery.
Furthermore, as with other therapies and treatments, DBT may either be effective or ineffective depending on varying circumstances.
DBT is a proven approach that works for a wide range of backgrounds and demographics. It is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on four vital therapeutic skills: distress tolerance, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness.
DBT targets three categories of behaviors: life-threatening, therapy-interfering, and quality-of-life-interfering. Patients learn how to think dialectically, wherein two opposing points may coexist. This helps that patient to accept the adverse situation and move towards changing that.
There are six stages of DBT, and these are as follows: pre-contemplation, contemplations, preparation, action, maintenance, and mindfulness.
These stages are a combination of individual and group training to boost motivation and enable emotional support. The full course of a DBT procedure may take around six months to finish.
As DBT can address its symptoms, it can definitely address compulsive gambling too. People unable to control their spending and later unable to admit this problem are at risk for this condition. It can eventually make a person’s life take a drastic turn.
This problem affects both the compulsive gambler and their family and friends, so it is better to get it treated as early as possible. DBT can tremendously help the compulsive gambler manage their condition and live healthily without resorting to self-destructive behavior.
How The State Of Your Mental Health Can Lead To Gambling
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 2019 Gambling Addiction Conference was very informative. It was a three-day event at the Hilton Kansas City Airport in Kansas City, Missouri. As a substance abuse counselor, I needed to attend that conference for the CPD. It was a 14-unit conference for me and a step up on my career as a counselor. But underneath all that, I desperately wanted to be in that conference since my brother was a problem gambler. That conference was not only for those with drug addiction and sex issues. It was also for those with chronic gambling problems, and I badly had to participate in it.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Because of my love for my husband, I tricked him into going to the 2017 Gambling Addiction Conference. He is a problematic gambler, a compulsive gambler, as experts call it. This silent addiction of his almost destroyed our marriage and family. I did it, and he was furious when we got there, but it saved his life and ours, as well.