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Psychological Effects of Gambling

Gambling involves risking money or something of value in an attempt to win. It can take many forms, including casino games, sports betting, horse racing and even lottery tickets. The psychological effects of gambling can be both positive and negative, and can vary depending on the individual and their level of addiction.

Like video games, gambling products are designed to keep players playing by using techniques such as varying reward ratios, creating the illusion of control and encouraging chasing losses (trying to recoup lost money). This type of behaviour is known as compulsive gambling and can have serious consequences for both the gambler and their family.

Those with pathological gambling (PG) often develop it in adolescence or young adulthood and it usually starts in one form of gambling then spreads to other forms. Research suggests that a person’s personality may influence their susceptibility to problem gambling, as well as the type of gambling they engage in. For example, a person with an underactive brain reward system may be more susceptible to thrill-seeking behaviours and have a harder time controlling impulses and weighing risks.

Learning to recognise the triggers of problematic gambling can help. Getting help is another important step, especially if you have a history of losing large amounts of money and straining relationships as a result of your gambling habits. There are many resources available to people with gambling problems, including family therapy, marriage counseling and credit and debt counseling.