This question is often asked about by relatives and friends as they cannot understand why gamblers are putting themselves and their loved ones through such pain and unhappiness. If something is causing such a problem, why not just stop and be happier? Does it demonstrate a symbol of weakness or the lack to cope? However, the truth of the matter is rarely so simple. Gambling problems are often experienced as being completely outside of the person’s control, and ‘just stopping’ isn’t felt to be an inexpensive option.
A lot of gamblers feel they are waiting for the ‘big win’, which never comes but always seems tantalizingly close. But often, they find having a big win would simply fuel their desire for more gambling, leaving them feeling trapped into behavior with no way out. This would suggest that being ‘in action’ is that the most vital thing, instead of winning an amount of cash. A big win can change gambling from enjoyment to being about winning money. The problem here is that each one sort of gambling has a house advantage meaning, over time, the house always wins. Or more importantly, the gambler always loses. This means any gambling you do that is driven by a need to win money, including trying to win back money you’ve already lost, is not going to work
Any entertainment can be a useful diversion from stress, grief, or life’s hassles but can turn negative when it stops being a diversion and starts being a way to cope. This is because ignoring a problem doesn’t usually make it go away.
When gambling becomes a problem:
It is very difficult to define when gambling becomes a drag.
There are many myths related to gambling which include:
- If I still gamble, I will be able to win and thus
- I can get back what I even have lost
- Gambling is the only solution to my financial and other problems
- Gambling is the only way I can escape from the stress
If gambling has stopped being fun for you and is starting to feel like a problem, you may find yourself asking why you gamble. But gambling doesn’t start as a problem. However, gambling can change and grow without you noticing it becoming bigger in your life and that’s where it can become a problem.
Why is it so hard to stop?
People who have gambling problems often ask themselves why they only can’t stop. Even though there is no drug or substance involved in gambling, problem gambling is categorized as an addiction in the psychiatric literature in the same section as drug and alcohol addictions. That problem gambling is an addiction and has a number of equivalent features in terms of brain activity as substance addictions explain why just trying to prevent sometimes isn’t enough to make it happen. It also explains why despite an eagerness to stop, many of us will struggle to regulate their gambling and need to try repeatedly to prevent them before being successful. It also explains why, a bit like with other sorts of addiction, some people will remain susceptible to problems with gambling returning within the future.