Gambling is one of the world’s oldest pastimes. The act of placing a large bet on a game of chance is incredibly exciting and tempting, as you only need one good “Win” to see you doubling your bets, and rolling in cash!
The only trouble is, the odds of winning when gambling are incredibly low, meaning you are likely to lose your bets and could see you quickly losing all of the money that you have accumulated from previous successful bets.
However, the draw of gambling is often too much for some, and some are ready to take those incredible risks with the hope that their lucky streak will see them through!
But what is it that actually makes gamblers so stubborn? What draws them to take such massive risks despite the tangible odds that stand against them?
If you’ve ever wondered what it is that gambling does to the brain, then you should keep reading, because today we are going to take a deep look at how gambling affects your brain!
Read on to get started now!
How Does Gambling Affect Your Brain?
On the simplest level, gambling has a similar effect on the brain as drugs can have. Gambling can easily become addictive thanks in no small part to how pleasurable it can be to win when gambling.
Winning a gambling game causes the release of dopamine in the brain, which is incredibly pleasurable.
The only trouble with dopamine is that it is possible for our minds to get used to it, thus making it much harder to obtain the same high that it gave us the first time we won a game of gambling.
If you were to get used to the dopamine release that comes from gambling, then you would likely find yourself betting more and more each time you play in an attempt to chase that sense of excitement that comes from an extreme dopamine rush!
Of course, betting more on each game in an attempt to stimulate dopamine release is risky, as it will inevitably lead to much greater losses, as the odds of winning still stay exactly the same.
However, to make things even more troubling, research has shown that near wins in gambling often lead to similar brain activity and chemical releases as actual victories!
This means that even just the simple act of betting more could be a way for gambling addicts to chase that sought-after dopamine rush!
The most potentially catastrophic thing about gambling is that there is a high risk of massive personal consequences, such as outright bankruptcy that can come from the act.
However, despite these massive risks, the pleasure of the dopamine release that comes from gambling is more than enough to outweigh it all!
Is Gambling An Addiction?
Definitely. In fact, it is possible to be diagnosed with a condition called ‘Gambling Addiction’, which is what you’d expect.
The condition refers to the complete compulsion to gamble despite the potential impact that it can have on your life and your relationships.
The reason why it is classifiable as an addiction is because the act of gambling causes the release of dopamine in the brain, in the same way that certain drugs help to release that same chemical.
Dopamine is a pleasurable chemical that the brain can very quickly become used to, leading individuals to go to more and more extreme measures to chase the same high.
Some of the extreme measures that those with gambling addictions may take include betting more and more money on each gambling game in order to achieve more extreme dopamine releases and thus greater pleasure.
As well as this, those that are involved with gambling addiction, as a result of losing massive amounts of money from high betting, may also find themselves stealing money from those around them in order to fuel their addiction.
Does Gambling Affect Your Mental Health?
One of the most common myths that is believed about gambling is that, if the individual gambler can financially afford their addiction, it is totally fine, and will not cause harm.
However, even if there is a lower risk of total financial catastrophe as a result of gambling, the act of gambling can still cause massive damage to the mind of the gambler.
Because gambling causes the mind to become used to the feeling of dopamine, it causes the gambler to have to go to more extreme measures in order to experience the same high that dopamine gave them the first time they gambled.
This also means that things in a gambler’s everyday life start to become less pleasurable. Very soon, personal relationships can begin to fall apart, and depression can very easily set in.
Because the brain is less primed to release dopamine while addicted to gambling, the gambler will stop finding things pleasurable, which can lead to a direct impact on their personal relationships.
The effects of depression from gambling can become so severe that there may also be a risk of suicide.
To Wrap Up
There we have it. The act of gambling does have some very clear effects on the human brain, and if left unchecked, gambling can very soon spiral into an addiction as the gambler seeks to achieve dopamine release from their bets.
However, though there is a clear risk of developing a gambling addiction, playing with moderation, and knowing one’s limits can keep gambling enjoyable, without running the risk of developing into a full-blown addiction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Ever Feel Remorse After Gambling?
Feeling a sense of remorse or guilt after gambling can be very common, especially after losing a game. This can lead a gambler to develop severe self-esteem issues.
Are Gamblers Angry?
Researchers have shown that gamblers are often more prone to anger, especially after losing significant amounts of money on bets.
What Is The Root Cause Of Gambling Addiction?
It is often difficult to point to a single root cause of gambling, but one common cause is a desperate need for money. Thrill seekers also often turn to gambling, as the risk helps to make gambling exciting.