- IS gambling making me unhappy at work or at home?;
- IS gambling making it hard to sleep at night or concentrate during the day?;
- AM I lying to other people and myself about how much I gamble?;
- AM I gambling to get away from problems or worries?;
- AM I gambling to get money – so that I can pay off debts or solve financial problems?;
- AM I borrowing money or selling possessions so that I can gamble? and;
- IF I have just won or just lost, do I feel I need to gamble just a little bit more?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may have a gambling issue.
What causes compulsive gambling?
All compulsive behaviours have social, psychological and biological origins.
Gambling brings us into contact with others, even if we are using internet gaming rooms.
This can provide a sense of community, however, damaging the associated behaviours.
Social meaning and acceptance by others are important to us all and for the compulsive gambler these can be found in virtual gaming rooms, real casinos, bookmakers and so on.
Gambling also changes how we feel psychologically as well as socially.
It allows us to escape our normal lives and the everyday struggles we experience.
During a period of gambling our mind is occupied by the odds, the bet, the race, the actions of other gamblers and the run of the cards and so on. It can be all-consuming and, therefore, provides an engaging, exciting escape from ordinary life.
At the biological level, compulsive behaviours can have a direct effect on the brain’s dopamine reward system.
This system regulates our responses to natural rewards like food, sex and social interaction.
Repeated compulsive behaviours can act on this system with a power and persistence that changes its cells chemically.