Anyone can become addicted to anything pleasurable. These addictions can range from food or sex or even to gambling.
Gambling is a behavioural addiction, and doesn’t necessarily have the same detrimental effects as addiction to substances like drugs or alcohol.
In fact, a third of gambling addicts are able to break their addiction within a year by seeking outside help, this cannot be said for an addiction to heroin, for example. An addiction to gambling however, can cause serious problems for people financially.
Actions leading to alteration of the brain pleasure circuit are at the heart of all these addictions. Consequences of a bad gambling binge can linger for years, resulting in the high suicide rate for gambling addicts.
We find more pleasure in winning money than we do in earning it, even if it means we come out winning or just breaking even. Walking away after losing money at gambling, can either turn a person off gambling completely, or entice them to return and win next time.
A dollar picked up on the road brings more satisfaction to you than the ninety-nine which you just had to work for, and money won at a fair or in stocks snuggles into your heart the same way.
Gambling begins with the initial excitement of winning. No matter how large the win, the risk of addiction increases as people go back and seek more stimulation, to achieve that point of pleasure again. This becomes a cycle that eventually goes downhill.
Winning money does activate dopamine levels, just like drugs, food and sex. However, the issues surrounding a gambling addiction do not outweigh the win.
Eventually, just like any addiction, the pleasure eventually drains out of the activity, as the person seeks the money more than the enjoyment.