Gambling Addiction and the Basic Elements of Addiction
Gambling is essentially the wagering on something of equal value with an uncertain result with the intention of winning something else in the process. Gambling therefore requires three components for it to exist: risk, consideration, and a reward. It is important to note that these three factors are not in any way contradictory but rather can be interdependent upon one another. For instance, the risk factor refers to the uncertainty of the results of a particular gamble; the consideration refers to how much effort and time you would have to put into the gamble in order to get a good return; and the reward is the monetary or non-monetary benefit obtained from the successful completion of the gamble.
Some people consider that the only reason why people gamble is to keep themselves entertained. Others say that gamblers are addicted to gambling because gambling provides them a release from their stress and frustration by winning. The truth may be somewhere in between. Gamblers are known to be attracted to lottery tickets because winning there guarantees a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction which may be absent in their everyday life.
Although people gamble for various reasons, the most common ones are to take pleasure in the highs and the lows of their emotions, winnings and losses, or even to escape from reality. Most gamblers will agree that the act of gambling itself is rarely a solitary activity but often involves a series of reactions and actions which can be related to other things such as sports betting. Most people gamble in order to avoid the feelings of sadness, disappointments, anxiety, boredom, and so on. Those who win may use the winnings to spend more time with their family, go on vacation, or buy a new car.
People who gamble on the lottery are not gamblers but rather possess a certain mentality. In most cases, lottery gamblers are not very emotionally attached to winning the lottery and do not care about the long term benefits or the short term ones. Most often, these gamblers are under the impression that by playing the lottery they can get rich quickly without having to work for it. That is why gambling has been associated with organized crime, as some lottery jackpot winners are criminals. That does not mean that all lottery gamblers are criminals but most of them are… and the only people who can really evaluate a person’s capacity for self control, especially in this type of industry, are the lottery’s salesperson or, in less important but crucial areas, the police detectives assigned to handle lottery fraud cases.
Gambling addiction has many symptoms but in general it is characterized by an intense psychological urge to gamble despite the negative consequences that may arise. It is also characterized by a dependence on gambling in terms of maintaining a regular pattern of behavior and avoiding normal stresses and responsibilities. There are a few indicators that can indicate a potential problem but they are not conclusive and must be explored together with a comprehensive treatment program. For example, gamblers may exhibit pathological gambling behavior, engage in repetitive gambling behaviors and use gambling as a means of dealing with stress. Gamblers may also demonstrate a significant increase in gambling risk, exhibit unusual withdrawal signs when gambling and show signs of increased emotional involvement in the process. A treatment program should include thorough psychiatric examination, testing for alcohol and substance abuse and other drug and alcohol dependencies.
What exactly is required to treat a gambling problem? Treatment centers focus on three areas: physical, mental and social aspects of the problem. Treatment in these three areas depends on the specific nature of the gambling addiction, i.e., whether it is due to alcohol or substance abuse or some form of addiction to gambling. Treatment centers also use therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy and other intervention techniques that are focused on making the patient understand the damage that is being done by his/her excessive gambling. The aim of these treatments is to make the gambler understand the harm that is being caused by their excessive involvement in gambling and to realize the potential positive benefits that can be achieved if they stop gambling. Treatment centers are able to help the patients to overcome their addiction and live productive and successful lives.