Like anything in life, in excess gambling can lead to severe repercussions for both you & your family. While most people have the ability to gamble responsibly there is a certain group of people who are prone to getting addicted. If you fall into this group don’t despair, there are ways to break free of any addiction. Now that gambling has officially been recognized as an addiction instead of a mere compulsion it’s opening up doors to a myriad of new ways of treatment. Here in Canada there are multiple agencies that are dedicated to helping people get out of the destructive cycle of pathological gambling. You just need to educate yourself on how you are being affected & what groups you have to choose from so you can make the right decision. No matter how hard your addiction has affected your life, it’s never too late to make the change.
Treatment for pathological gambling was revolutionized when it was discovered that gambling affects your brain in the same way as drugs. Just 15 years ago pathological gambling was classified as a compulsion, a behavior primarily motivated by the need to relieve anxiety rather than a craving for intense pleasure. The treatment reflected this & proved remarkably unsuccessful. After 15 years of deliberation the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) made the landmark decision to move pathological gambling into their addictive chapter. This decision was strongly influenced by recent neurological studies that showed that just like drugs, gambling has the ability to affect the brain’s production of dopamine.
“The past idea was that you need to ingest a drug that changes neurochemistry in the brain to get addicted, but we now know that just about anything we do alters the brain,” says Timothy Fong, a psychiatrist and addiction expert at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It makes sense that some highly rewarding behaviors, like gambling, can cause dramatic [physical] changes, too.”
The main factor that hooks people into pathological gambling is dopamine. It’s what your brain produces to reward you for behavior that promotes your survival or genes to spread. When you do something that floods your body with dopamine too often, your body becomes less responsive & you need more dopamine to feel the same effects. People who are addicted to gambling will proceed to do more & more risky behavior until all hell breaks loose. They will seek their next thrill by going all in & will continue to gamble until they are completely destitute. This wreaks havoc on relationships & has been the downfall of many families. Luckily now that we know that dopamine plays a key role in gambling addiction we have found that a combination of medication & therapy helps people break free. Unfortunately, researchers estimate that more than 80 percent of gambling addicts never seek treatment in the first place. So in order to cure yourself from this addiction you have to admit that you have a problem & seek treatment.
Fortunately there are many resources in Canada for those who have finally reached the point where they realize that they need help. The nucleus for finding the best resource available to you is ProblemGambling. This is a treasure trove of info on gambling addiction along with a list of resources for people suffering from this affliction. You can browse their list to find organizations that cater to your region & will give you help that’s tailor made for your needs. Remember, help is free & you owe it to yourself to make this change. While right now is probably one of the scariest chapters of your life, you have the power to change the course of your life story. Take control of your life again by reaching out to one of the many organizations that are offering assistance. Later on you will look back on this as the day where you embarked on a journey that ended up changing your life. The help is there, all you have to do is ask.