Dealing With a Loved One With a Gambling Problem

People enjoy gambling when it’s done in a social setting with friends and family. It gives them the chance to interact and play games like poker, blackjack, and other casino games in a friendly competition. Many individuals report that gambling allows them to escape from their everyday lives and feel free for a brief moment in time.

When the game is enjoyable, it helps boost self esteem and provides a form of mental engagement that challenges one’s ability to make quick decisions and employ tactics to improve their odds of winning. It can also help develop cognitive skills and build self-control. But when individuals start losing money they can’t afford to lose, it becomes problematic.

Research shows that some individuals may be genetically predisposed to thrill-seeking behaviors, impulsivity, and risk taking. These factors, combined with dramatic alterations in how the brain sends chemical messages, can cause someone to go overboard on gambling and turn it into an addiction.

A big mistake many individuals make is thinking that they can control their chances of winning by predicting the probability of a win or a string of wins. This is because they overestimate their chances based on immediate examples in their mind of people who have won before. It’s a little like playing basketball and believing you can hit the ball into the hoop every time you shoot it because you have watched others do so in the past.

Dealing with a loved one with problem gambling can be very stressful for the entire family. It’s important to remember that other families have experienced the same struggles and you are not alone.

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