Gambling Triggers and How to Avoid Them

The premise of gambling is that you bet something of value (usually money) on an event that is entirely or at least partly determined by chance. While many people enjoy gambling as a recreational activity, some individuals find themselves addicted and struggle with negative personal, family, work, and financial consequences. Whether they’re betting on their favorite team to win, playing online poker, or buying scratchcards, the thrill and rush of winning money can make gambling addictive.

When you gamble, your brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel excited. You may think you only feel this neurological response when you win, but research shows that even losing money triggers the same pleasure in your brain as winning. This change in your brain chemistry can lead you to continue gambling and lose control of your behavior.

Identifying your triggers and avoiding them is an important step in overcoming gambling addiction. Consider changing your route home from work if it goes past a casino, turning off the TV if you’re tempted to watch sports games, or leaving credit cards and unnecessary cash at home before going to the mall in case you feel an urge to gamble. It can also help to seek treatment for underlying mental health issues like stress, anxiety, or depression, which can both contribute to and be made worse by problematic gambling behaviour. It often takes friends and family a while to catch on to the fact that someone has a gambling problem, so it’s important to approach them gently, in a supportive and concerned manner rather than be aggressive or defensive.

Posted in: Gambling