The Beginning Stages of Gambling Disorder
January 12, 2016
The risks could be very fair or extremely one-sided depending on the money at stake and the games played.
But what if the first time you ever gamble, you end up winning rather than losing. Don’t end up broke, poor, and homeless because of a compulsive you’ve always had the ability to stop.
As with any addiction that feeling you get when you win causes a stir in your brain chemistry, and it’s on par with other notorious addictions including caffeine and other drugs/alcohol. They weren’t risking anything so it was all fun and games to them. I mean he could have won a huge amount of money that was more than double the offer.
The thing is that people who are addicted will not let something like losing bother them too much, which is incredibly dangerous when large sums of money and property are at risk. Those with growing gambling behaviors will not care if they keep losing because those few wins will make up for how badly they might feel after losing.
Even as a kid if you decide to risk one of your toys for a better toy through a game of chance or skill, then you are technically engaging in gambling. Unlike the seed of a plant, this is one seed you do not want to water, feed, and let grow.
Many of us have already planted that first seed when we took a stab at gambling. At the beginning of this article I’ve mentioned how planting a seed in tantamount to how things will evolve in the future. Gamblers tend to absolve their losses by giving in to more gambling, which in most cases results in an even greater loss.
The answer is a thumping YES! If you’re at a casino and you start hearing those bells ring with the money piling in, then there’s this rush of adrenaline that you’ll rarely experience. It’s what the messages at the casino and at the back of the lottery ticket stress about when they tell you to call a number if you suspect “so and so might have a gambling problem/addiction”.
That first reward, if substantial, is akin to watering that seed I discussed in the opening paragraph and it might eventually germinate.
This doesn’t only apply to gambling but to a variety of other addictions as well.
How Much Does Losing Bother You?
One of the earliest steps that is often a precursor to a gambling addiction is your emotional response after a loss. Just because the contestant went for the million and lost doesn’t mean they had a gambling addiction.
His actions were compulsive but were likely controlled by adrenaline, emotion, and selfishness. This correlates with a rapid rise in the amount of prizes and money you could win.
Imagine you’ve never gambled before, but when you reached the age of 21 your friends persuaded you to gamble for the first time at a casino. This contestant foolishly decided to go for it and ended up losing everything (well except the dollar).
Game shows take gambling and transform it into blissful entertainment where the audience waits for the contestant to take a shot at a million dollars even if they are risking everything they’ve gained.
But how about this scenario…
When losing sickens and depresses you, the urge to keep playing tends to subside although that’s not always the case. Now when I say gambling, I’m talking about risking any money or collateral for a higher reward. The same applies to people who have gambled sporadically under low risk situations.
Try your hardest to never get past Stage 1 with any addiction, and please seek help when you feel yourself or someone you are close to beginning to slip. Do you stop playing, claim your winnings, and feel happy that you’ve won, or do you decide to take another stab at the game?
Do You Stop or Keep Going?
If you’ve ever watched a game show, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you gamble, then be sure to do it sporadically and have others present. It might not seem like much, but it could play a significant role when you get older.
Are you that type of person? Would you quit while you’re ahead or stop and use common sense.
The best way to prevent this from happening is either by never planting a seed in the first place or setting highly specified limits if you do gamble. In one instance, a contestant on Deal or no Deal had to choose from two suitcases with one having a million dollars and the other a dollar.
So what happens after you win for the very first time. There’s no telling how far a person will go, and people have been know to lose their jobs, homes, or end up completely broke on the streets due to this addiction.. Odds are that after playing a few games you’ll end up perfectly fine, but it might be better to lose the first time than win.
Your Very First Reward
There’s nothing pleasurable about losing money or an item you once owned and enjoyed, and first time gamblers quickly realize this and move on. The bigger the prize, the greater the feeling.
As with most compulsive and psychological disorders like body dysmorphic disorder, the best method of treatment is cognitive behavorial therapy (CBT) though medication may also be prescribed.
The audience, who were hollering and screaming, weren’t helping him make a reasonable decision either. For those that have taken that step, then try to think of that first gambling experience as a seed to your future plant. In this instance, compulsion doesn’t equal addiction, but it’s a stepping stone towards a gambling addiction if other variables fall into the equation. Does it stay dormant or will it eventually germinate and grow into something dangerous. It gets to a point where what you win doesn’t matter as much as the feeling of winning itself.
Other Signs of a Gambling Problem
There are several signs that dictate you might have a gambling problem, and they range from how you feel to the things you do. Within several game show concepts, you play for a certain amount of time until the risk grows greater and greater. Having a strong support system is critical to preventing a problem and intervening when the problem begins to get out of control.
A true gambling addict wouldn’t stop, but even a stable person might take a huge risk and go for it. Surrounding yourself with friends, family, and acquaintances while going to a casino can sharply decrease how much money you risk and how far you go.
Also like other addictions, there may be a period of withdrawal a gambler experiences that will feel very unpleasant both physically and mentally depending on how far deep they’re in.
Have You Ever Gambled?
Common sense tells us that someone who has never gambled a day in their lives is not going to end up with a gambling addiction. It can however help identify the problems someone might be dealing with.
Don’t Let It Get Past the Beginning Stage!
If you suspect you or someone you know is experiencing any early signs of a gambling addiction, then you need to seek treatment immediately. They may not always be obvious and don’t always correlate to or only gambling, but you should be on the lookout if a combination of these symptoms emerge.
IrritabilitySecretive or appearing to hide somethingExcess lying even to closest friends/familySteep decline in bank account/fundsConsistent thoughts of gamblingDaily purchases of lottery tickets or online gamblingDependency on others financiallyDeclination of past hobbies and interestsDrop in social activity/loss of relationships
The disappearance of money and lowering bank funds are strong signs that there’s something going on even if it’s not directly related to gambling.
I always think of Deal or no Deal and the “Press Your Luck” game shows where the contestant doesn’t quit while their ahead, which leaves them getting burned a majority of the time. Does it change how you feel about gambling?
The offer was nearly split down the middle, and they had the option to either take the offer presented to them or try to pick the winning case. Often the greater the emotional response, the less likely you are to develop an addiction.
In fact that’s one of the biggest signs to look for in a gambling addict
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