Gambling Addiction: How Is It Different From Other Addictions

The word “Addiction” is characterized by many people as being a negative compulsion. A person with an addiction is unable to stop doing the thing they are addicted to.

Not all addictions are the same, and even though we are focusing more on gambling addiction, we also want to touch on other addictions that can overtake a person’s life.

What Are The Different Type of Addictions?

There are basically three categories for addictions:

1. Substance
2. Impulse/Emotional
3. Behavioral

Most people relate substance addiction to drugs, but it can also be related to: alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and inhalants.

Impulsive/emotional types include: gambling, stealing, and pyromaniacs (setting fires).

Behavioral types include: eating, shopping, pornography, working, and perfectionism.

The one thing all of these addictions have in common is – control. A person with an addiction, gambling or otherwise, is in bondage to their addiction. The crazy thing about this problem is – they don’t overlap most times. A person addicted to gambling will not have any desire to set fires and a pyromaniac won’t be tempted to gamble.

Taking a Closer Look at Gambling Addiction

There’s a distinct difference between a gambling and substance addiction. Gambling is triggered at an emotional level and substance addictions are craving some type of chemical relief.

The gambling atmosphere is all about “emotions” and “excitement” but alcohol, smoking, stress, anxiety, and many other vices are all part of the casino experience. This is one instance where the initial addiction can lead a person into multiple other addictions.

Casinos spend millions of dollars each year studying the habits of gamblers. Gambling is different from other addictions because of money. Money is the fuel for gambling and the emotional rush comes from having your money on the line.

Slot machines are designed so that the colors and sounds attract people to play; at that point money loses its value. The tables convert cash into chips. By doing this the player loses their sense of value for money; the casino knows exactly what they are doing.

Pathological gambling destroys relationships, it devastates finances, and it can even cause a person to commit suicide. So, what can cause a person to become a gambling addict?

Since gambling is categorized as an emotional/impulsive addiction, we have to look at other emotions that can trigger it. The experts have listed a few:

- Anxiety
- Depression
- Stress (work/family)
- Personal Loss
- Debt

We also have to include the “beginners luck” syndrome. There’s a natural attraction to easy money and lotteries are one example of this fact. The multimillion dollar lottery pools are a reflection of the hope of getting rich, and this is what drives a person to the point of becoming a gambling addict.

When gambling becomes an addiction it goes beyond just winning, it’s more about just playing. People who are addicted can be winning thousands of dollars and not quit, why?

The reason is – love. The love of gambling. The phase of losing and desperation comes next, and this is when the addiction can turn into a monster. Fortunately there is help, and there are help centers waiting to help.

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