Causes of Gambling Disorders

Gambling is the wagering of something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome, where instances of skill are discounted. There are four main types of gambling:

Casino gaming (such as video poker, blackjack, roulette and slot machines). Betting on sports events such as horse or greyhound racing, football accumulators and other sporting matches. Other forms of gambling include online casino games, instant scratch cards, lottery and bingo. Speculation, such as betting on business or insurance risks, is also considered gambling.

While the majority of adults who gamble do not experience any problems, some individuals develop a problem. It is estimated that 2.5 million American adults meet the criteria for a severe gambling disorder. Another 5-8 million are considered to have mild or moderate gambling problems.

It is thought that the most common cause of gambling disorders is impulsivity. When people gamble, they often feel the need to do so quickly, without thinking about their decisions or weighing up the pros and cons. This is partly because of the way the brain is wired – when we see a reward, our body produces the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine, even when we’re not necessarily in control of the situation.

Another reason for impulsivity is the desire to try out new things. This can be particularly the case with online casinos, where new games are constantly being added to the existing catalogue of offerings. It is important to remember that these new additions are unlikely to be as lucrative as the more established games, which have been around for a longer period of time and have developed a player base.

The final reason for impulsiveness is the desire to win money. This can be a major factor for problem gamblers, who will often increase their bet sizes in an attempt to make back losses or win big sums that they have already lost. This can lead to bankruptcy and severe financial hardship, which is why it is important for gamblers to set a budget for how much they can afford to spend on gambling and stick to it.

In order to combat the impulsiveness that can cause gambling addictions, it is recommended that you find healthier ways to relieve unpleasant emotions and boredom. For example, instead of gambling, you could try exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble or taking up a new hobby. You can also practice relaxation techniques or seek support from a therapist. BetterHelp offers an online therapist matching service, and you can get started with just a few clicks! Start by taking our free assessment, and you could be matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. You can then begin working through your issues and building a stronger foundation for recovery. The first step to getting help is realizing that you have a problem, and that takes courage. However, it is not a journey that you have to take alone – there are many people who have been where you are now and have been successful in breaking their gambling habits.