Gamling – What is it and How Can it Affect You?
Gamling, also known as pathological gambling or compulsive gambling, is a serious addiction that can cause significant harm to your life and the lives of your loved ones. Problem gambling can affect your health, your family, your relationships and your financial situation. It can also be a sign of a mental health disorder. If you think you have a gambling problem, seek help as soon as possible.
Gambling can lead to serious problems, including a loss of control over your behaviour and emotional instability. It can also affect your ability to work or study, and it can leave you in debt and in danger of homelessness. It can be hard to quit and you need support from family, friends, and professionals.
It’s easy to understand how people can become addicted to gambling – it’s an impulse-control disorder that can have serious repercussions. It can lead to depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. It can also be a risk factor for criminal activity.
Despite the growing public concern over this form of behaviour, many problem gamblers still do not seek professional help. Research suggests that over 90 per cent of people who are problem gamblers don’t get treatment.
There are two approaches to studying gambling behaviour that have gained considerable popularity in recent years. The first is based on a cognitive approach that emphasizes the erroneous beliefs held by gamblers and the distortion of their appraisals of control during gambling. The second is a psychobiological approach that focuses on the dysregulation of brain areas linked to reward and emotion.
Both approaches to gambling behaviour have important strengths and weaknesses. For example, the cognitive approach has identified a number of erroneous beliefs that cause gamblers to over-estimate their chances of winning, while the psychobiological approach has uncovered dysregulation in brain areas linked to reward and emotion in problem gamblers.
The underlying problem is that human decision-making mechanisms are generally poor at processing probabilities. This has been shown in a range of classical studies on generating and recognising random sequences, for example the outcomes of a series of coin tosses (Tversky and Kahneman 1971; Wagenaar 1972).
Some of these distorted beliefs are a result of the way in which gambling games are played, such as the use of random numbers in the roulette wheel or the recurrent presence of a dummy ball in slot machines. These features of gambling games directly exacerbate the distortions associated with faulty belief systems, making gamblers more likely to over-estimate their chances of winning.
These irrational beliefs are difficult to change, but they can be prevented by being aware of them and learning to recognise them when they occur. The first step to overcoming the problem is to understand how these distorted beliefs are formed and how they influence a person’s preferences for gambling.
This knowledge can be used to help gamblers avoid irrational choices in the future, and it can also be used to help reduce their gambling frequency and reduce their losses. It is also a good idea to educate others, such as family members and friends, about the negative impact of gambling on a person’s health and their ability to cope with stress.