The Dangers of Gambling

Gambling Blog Apr 16, 2024


Gambling involves wagering something of value, such as money or property, on an event whose outcome is determined by chance, with the intent to win something else of value. It can involve games of pure chance or those where skill may affect the odds of winning. Examples of gambling include playing cards, horse racing and betting on sports events. Some states prohibit gambling, while others allow it to some degree. Regardless of legality, gambling is often seen as immoral and detrimental to society.

For many, gambling is a form of entertainment and provides the thrill of euphoria when they win. However, this euphoria can be short lived and, like any addiction, it can come with a significant cost. Problematic gambling affects all aspects of a person’s life including physical health, social relationships, ability to work and study and can even lead to homelessness.

The term “problematic gambling” is not well defined and it has been framed in different ways by research scientists, psychiatrists, other treatment care clinicians, and public policy makers. This is because different groups have varying paradigms or world views from which they view the issue and these differ according to their disciplinary training, experience, and special interests.

There are a number of reasons why someone may become addicted to gambling and they tend to be related to the psychological and neurological mechanisms that operate when someone gambles. Firstly, people who engage in gambling tend to have a genetic or psychological predisposition to do so and this can result in dramatic changes in the way the brain sends chemical messages. This can make it more difficult to control impulses.

Secondly, gambling can be highly addictive because it triggers the reward pathway in the brain similar to how drugs do. When someone wins they receive a kick of dopamine, which stimulates the brain’s learning circuits and encourages them to try to repeat that positive experience in the future. This is why it’s important for individuals to gamble responsibly and not just for the money.

Another reason why people may become addicted to gambling is because they are seeking a specific emotional state or desire that they cannot achieve through other means. This is particularly common for people with low self esteem, as they use gambling as a way to gain status and feel special. Alternatively, it can also be used to satisfy basic human needs such as feeling safe and secure. This can be seen in the way that casinos are designed to evoke feelings of excitement and exclusivity.

It is also worth noting that people are more sensitive to losses than they are to gains of the same amount. Therefore, they will invest time and money into gambling in an attempt to ‘make up’ for previous losses, which can often become a vicious cycle. Our range of Safeguarding courses cover topics such as Safeguarding Children and Young People, Mental Health Awareness and Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults. All of which are essential to anyone working with vulnerable individuals.