20 Effects Of Gambling Addiction On Your Health And Social Life
Don’t think gambling is a bad hobby to have? You might be wrong.
Nobody starts gambling with the intent of becoming an addict, but unfortunately that is what happens in many cases.
Once people are in the mindset of “just one more time” or “just until I win back what I’ve lost”, it’s often too late for them to overcome the gambling addiction effects without rehab and help from their family and friends.
If you think that your gambling hobby isn’t a dangerous one, ask yourself this: how many of these signs apply to me?
You might be surprised by just how much your gambling addiction is truly influencing your life. Take a look at this list and see how many signs you recognize in yourself.
- 1. Gambling addiction takes over healthy habits
- 2. Addicts refuse to function like normal humans
- 3. The addictions illicit chemical changes in the brain
- 4. Permanent brain alteration is a major risk
- 5. PTSD sufferers are at risk of elevated stress with gambling
- 6. Excessive gambling causes chronic depression
- 7. Compulsive gambling desires affect regular neurological function
- 8. Gambling addiction worsens with success
- 9. Neurochemical alterations increase in proportion with addiction
- 10. Prolonged addiction instills erratic tendencies
- 11. Temporarily dormant addictions result in severe relapse
- 12. Gambling addicts tend to be compulsive liars
- 13. Severely affected addicts find normal social situations strange
- 14. Excessive addiction fueling leads to sociopathy
- 15. Empathic tendencies are reduced by gambling addiction
- 16. Addicts are often disconnected from close relations
- 17. Gambling addiction makes substance abuse more likely
- 18. The addiction enforces thievery from close friends and family
- 19. The neurochemical activity permanently damages social adjustment if ignored
- 20. Gambling potentially takes over an addict’s life
1. Gambling addiction takes over healthy habits
The time that you used to spend on other hobbies like exercising or learning a new skill becomes solely dedicated to gambling.
You might justify this by saying, “My free-time is there for me to do whatever I enjoy!”
While this is true, it’s worrying when you no longer have time for any other hobbies that help you to grow and stay healthy.
Don’t let gambling cause you to neglect the healthy habits that have become a part of your life over the years.
2. Addicts refuse to function like normal humans
The difference in behavior when comparing an addict and somebody who isn’t addicted is quite shocking.
Gambling addicts often neglect their basic responsibilities on the hunt for their next rush of adrenaline.
Addicts start to slack off at work, neglect spending time with loved ones, and will find it difficult to talk about anything not related to their gambling habit.
If someone can’t get through a conversation without mentioning gambling, it might be time for an intervention.
They might be defensive at first but it could be the wake-up call that they need.
3. The addictions illicit chemical changes in the brain
Studies have shown that the chemical changes that occur in the brain with a gambling addiction are the same chemical changes that occur in the brains of drug and alcohol addicts.
These changes are what drive addicts to disregard all other aspect of their lives while they’re on the hunt for the adrenaline rush that only gambling can give them.
It’s a destructive habit that can’t be overcome without professional help thanks to these chemical changes in the brain.
The sooner an addict admits that they need help, the easier it will be for them to fully recover.
4. Permanent brain alteration is a major risk
The risk is clear: these brain alterations take away your judgment.
It’s not uncommon to hear stories of addicts being unable to control themselves when it comes to gambling.
Addicts will often jeopardize their jobs as well as the financial security of their entire family to get their gambling fix.
The longer the addiction goes untreated, the worse it gets.
With these permanent brain alterations it makes it extremely easy for recovering addicts to relapse and become fully addicted once again.
5. PTSD sufferers are at risk of elevated stress with gambling
Studies have shown that those with PTSD, particularly veterans, are almost four times more likely to develop a gambling addiction than any other demographic.
It’s speculated that the rush of adrenaline and euphoria that comes along with gambling is something that strongly effects those with a preexisting condition like PTSD.
Since veterans risked their lives in combat, they don’t see gambling as too big of a threat.
But unfortunately, they are the most likely people to go down a destructive path of addiction if they start gambling too frequently.
6. Excessive gambling causes chronic depression
It’s no wonder that this occurs.
Excessive gambling leads to financial problems as well as interpersonal problems.
Addicts often get fired from their jobs for putting their addiction ahead of all other responsibilities and the families of addicts sometimes break contact with addicts since their self-destructive habits are a danger to everyone around them.
When an addict reaches the point where they have no money, no job, and no one to rely on anymore, it’s easy for them to fall into a deep and terrifying depressive state.
7. Compulsive gambling desires affect regular neurological function
Gambling is always on the mind of an addict.
They may find it difficult to concentrate on any other task.
Their thoughts will always be uninterrupted by the longing to go gambling again.
Some addicts even have trouble sleeping because their desire to go gamble is so strong.
That’s why recovering addicts often go through stages that are similar to withdrawal symptoms in substance addicts.
Their brains will find it difficult to function without getting their fix and they’ll find it difficult to do or think of anything else.
8. Gambling addiction worsens with success
Failure can sometimes deter people from continuing to gamble, but once somebody wins while they are gambling, they often become hooked for life.
No matter how many times they lose after that, they’ll continue to gamble because they believe they will win again at some point.
Unfortunately, it’s extremely rare for anybody to win more than they lose with gambling.
The small hope of winning can be all it takes to make an addiction impossible to overcome for many people.
9. Neurochemical alterations increase in proportion with addiction
The longer you gamble, the more difficult it will be or you to stop gambling.
This holds true of any behavior that you follow for an extended amount of time.
Something that you do often later becomes a habit, something that you do without even thinking all that much about it.
It becomes so automatic and easy that many addicts find themselves gambling online when they really just meant to check their e-mails.
The programming in the brain becomes nearly impossible to beat when you train your mind to gamble.
10. Prolonged addiction instills erratic tendencies
Gambling addicts don’t think like regular people and therefore they don’t act like regular people.
They’re prone to sudden outburst and are extremely volatile to be around.
They’ll most likely be highly defensive and lash out at anyone who is trying to help them.
In severe cases, they might even become physically abusive to those around them as their frustration with their addiction and their lack of success in gambling grows.
It’s often said that addicts will lose their own personality and become nothing more than a gambling fanatic, through and through.
11. Temporarily dormant addictions result in severe relapse
Chemicals in the brain are what regulate human behavior.
Gambling addicts have trained their mind to respond positively to gambling and therefore, for someone who is trying to quit, their minds will be screaming to continue gambling.
The rush that addicts feel from gambling isn’t just metaphorical – it’s a real chemical rush thanks to the chemicals that train addicts to associate gambling with pleasure and happiness.
That’s why it’s so common for recovering addicts to relapse back into their addiction often.
12. Gambling addicts tend to be compulsive liars
Even if they don’t know it consciously, sub-consciously most addicts know that their gambling addiction is something that they need to hide in order to prevent someone from taking gambling away from them.
They’ll often lie about where they were when they were gambling.
They’ll also lie about how they lost the money.
In extreme cases, they’ll lie about money and possessions going missing when they steal from family and friends to fuel their gambling addiction.
Their whole lives become consumed by gambling.
If they’re in a social situation that doesn’t involve the risk and danger of gambling, they’ll feel out of place and find the situation strange.
Gambling addicts also struggle to understand how other people live without gambling.
They might make odd comments about gambling and related things while in regular social situations.
These comments are a definite sign of a gambling addiction.
14. Excessive addiction fueling leads to sociopathy
The more a person indulges their addiction, the less they care about other things.
They’ll be willing to go further and further to fuel their addiction without any regard for how it impacts the people around them.
This leads to them starting to display sociopathic traits.
They won’t feel remorse for robbing friend and family, for making friends and family worry, and etc.
The more they fuel their addiction, the harder it will be for them to realize just how much they’re hurting others with their behavior.
15. Empathic tendencies are reduced by gambling addiction
This goes along with the sociopathic tendencies.
Addicts are masters at rationalizing even the most abhorrent actions.
They won’t feel empathy for stealing from others to fuel their own addiction, nor will they feel empathy for taking advantage of the people who try to help them.
It’s possible that they might feel a few pangs of remorse, but this is easily pushed away in favor of getting their gambling fix.
The longer they’ve been an addict, the more difficult it is for them to care about others.
16. Addicts are often disconnected from close relations
Close family are the ones who will most likely try to step in and help gambling addicts when they first start displaying worrying signs, but familial love can only go so far.
It’s likely that many close relations choose to cut ties with an addict if they don’t display any kind of desire to stop gambling.
It’s also common for them to cut ties because gambling addicts are prone to robbing those close to them in order to get the money they need to fuel their gambling addiction.
17. Gambling addiction makes substance abuse more likely
Once you’ve become addicted to one thing, becoming addicted to other things is easy.
Gambling addicts often turn to substance abuse when they become depressed.
Gambling is also often entwined with substance abuse since many people gamble recklessly when they are drunk or high.
It’s not uncommon for gambling addicts to pass away due to alcohol poisoning or an overdose.
Sometimes gambling addiction develops after the initial substance abuse problem originated.
18. The addiction enforces thievery from close friends and family
What does a gambling addict do when they don’t have any more money left to go gamble?
They steal money wherever they can.
Gambling addicts will steal cash, cards, and even possessions out of the homes of friends and family just to be able to gamble more.
This is often necessary for them since most addicts lose their jobs due to their extremely erratic behavior.
With no real source of income, they have to turn to thievery in order to get by and gamble.
The longer a person is addicted to gambling the more difficult it will be for them to eventually integrate back into normal life.
They’ll find it difficult to build up relationships and keep a stable job since the chemicals in their brains have been altered so much thanks to addiction.
Unless they are fully committed to spending possible years rebuilding their lives, it’s unlikely they’ll ever be a part of normal society ever again.
20. Gambling potentially takes over an addict’s life
Everything outside of their addiction will fall away and become irrelevant.
In that moment of gambling where they feel euphoric and full of happiness, they’ll find it easy to push away thoughts of everything else.
When they aren’t gambling, it’s too easy for them to think of nothing except how to get the money required to gamble again.
They’ll stop concentrating on work and may even spend their time at their desk gambling online.
They’ll stop caring about their families and instead think of all the ways they can get money from their family to go gambling again.
It’s a destructive habit that has no happy ending.