This is a fair and common question. Professionals in the addiction field tend to monitor trends in not just chemical abuse, but behavioural addictions also. In the last 10 years, the increase of pathological (compulsive or addictive) gambling has increased greatly.
While there are always the gamblers whose access range from casinos, horse racing, or underground card games, the advent of the smart phone and wi-fi access has resulted in a huge increase in on-line sports betting.
Whatever type of gambling one engages in, if is becoming problematic the patterns are very similar. Increased frequency, short time between acting out, increased amounts of bets and secrecy and isolation are all warning signs of a gambling addiction.
Some people report they began gambling as a response to boredom or stress; placing a bet and looking forward to the outcome was a temporary distraction to problems they may have been experiencing at work, in their relationship, or life in general.
Other people report a long history of moderate gambling that seemed to increase in intensity over time.
When it comes to the treatment of a gambling addiction, the specific origins are actually of little concern. A proper treatment focuses on the level of harm, inability to control, motivation and reinforcement of the behaviour.
Because gambling has both a psychological and physiological response, primarily related to dopamine, the ability to stop gambling and no longer receive this “rush” takes a formal strategy and not just good intentions.
In order to stop gambling it is important that a person understand why they are doing it, in order to formulate a plan to stop. As with many addictions, will power, good intentions, and logic have little success.
If you feel you have a gambling problem, you should seek help as soon as possible. You can speak to a local addiction professional or can contact Gamblers Anonymous at - www.GamblersAnonymous.org/ga/
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