Gambling refers to the act of risking something with an unsure result in hopes of winning something with the same uncertainty. The uncertainty stems from the potential for any outcome to occur. Gambling therefore requires three key ingredients to be present: risk, consideration, and the prize. If you are playing a game of chance, there is no prize because you have not actually won anything yet. In contrast, if you are playing a game of skill with a known outcome, then you will potentially win that outcome (the prize) if you play your cards right.
One of the main characteristics of gambling addiction is that it creates an obsession with success and failure. This obsession is often coupled with a need to keep score and to constantly evaluate one’s chances of winning. This can translate into a compulsive behavior in which even small losses become magnified over time. Addictions in this area can also include alcohol or other substance abuse, or dependence upon internet gambling, video games, magazines, or concerts. With any addiction, there are always underlying factors which need to be considered.
Many addictions begin as habits. That is why many addictions can start out so successfully and then fizzle out after a short period. There are two primary schools of thought about how to treat problem gambling. Those who believe that addiction can be treated by willpower and the natural feelings of motivation to try to give up their addictive tendencies by depriving themselves of the things they normally use as a reward for good performance or success. These addicts then fall into a state of depression, anguish, and anxiety due to their inability to stop gambling.
Some people who suffer from problem gambling also believe that there is a connection between their problem gambling habit and their own personal supply of self-esteem. They feel that nothing can ever beat the ability that they have to beat gambling. If they lose, they feel worthless. If they win, they feel excited and invigorated. There is a strong psychological component to all of this that can lead to a variety of other problems in many people’s lives.
The second approach to treating gambling addiction is more of a scientific approach. This approach takes advantage of the fact that our brains operate in such a way that they do not require the same stimuli in order to make a decision as do people who don’t gamble. Instead of focusing on how you are going to lose or win a particular wager, if it turns out you are correct, the brain focuses on the outcomes and how that outcome will affect the person. Because of this, gambling gamblers can sometimes use advanced mathematics to calculate the odds of their particular bet and eliminate the possibility of an outcome that will cancel out the expected value of the bet. This scientific approach to gambling also helps the bettor see patterns and understand the way that their gambling system works.
Gambling addiction can be treated. It is important, however, that the person suffering from it treat themselves at the beginning so that they can recognize the symptoms and get help for their problem gambling addiction. If you or someone you know is suffering from a gambling addiction, you may wish to consider visiting the website of a reputable gambling rehabilitation center. Not only will the professionals there to be able to offer advice about treatment options, they will also be able to connect you with qualified professionals who can help you commit to a weekly or monthly program. In the meantime, keep track of your losses and celebrate your successes.