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While gambling addictions are nothing new, the advent of the online world has opened up a whole new world of gambling opportunities for newcomers and “pros” alike. Online gambling has also made the activity more accessible and convenient for all. These new developments do not bode well for people struggling with gambling addictions.
For anyone curious about how gambling has affected everyday life in America, gambling addiction facts can be a real eye-opener. As with any past time, certain prevailing myths can make gambling in general seem less harmful than it really is. Gambling addiction facts reveal the trends and the consequences of problem gambling and gambling addictions overall.
Unlike drugs and alcohol, gambling is an impulse control disorder that triggers addictive brain chemical reactions in much the same way as substance-based addictions. Gambling addiction facts reveal the stark similarities between drugs and gambling and the damaging effects that result.
Gambling Addiction Trends
Gambling, in and of itself, is a recreational activity. Gambling only becomes problematic at the point where a person loses control of the behavior. Loss of control can develop in different ways, some of which include:
- Growing financial problems
- Spending more and more time gambling
- Relationship conflicts due to gambling
According to the University of New York, gambling addiction facts show certain trends in terms of age, proximity to casinos and gender. Here are a few gambling addiction facts to consider:
- Men are twice as likely to engage in frequent gambling behaviors than women
- Gambling problems are considerably more prevalent than alcohol abuse problems
- The risk of developing a gambling addiction doubles for people who live within 10 miles of a casino
- People between the ages of 20 and 40 are more likely to engage in frequent gambling than other age groups
Gambling Addiction Facts
Gambling is a Brain Addiction
Gambling addictions produce the same biochemical changes in the brain as drug addictions do, according to the Scientific American online site. This gambling addiction fact accounts for the similarities in behavior between the two:
- Both gamblers and drug users experience withdrawal effects
- Both gamblers and drug users spend increasing amounts of time in their pursuits
- Both gamblers and drug users continue on in spite of negative consequences
- It’s Not Just a Financial Problem
While financial problems can result from gambling addiction, the root of the problem has little to do with a person’s financial circumstances. The root cause of gambling addiction starts at an emotional level, wherein addicts use gambling as a means for coping with daily life stressors and pressures. This gambling addiction fact becomes most apparent when the activity turns into an obsessive behavior.
Infrequent Gamblers Can Be Problem Gamblers
People who gamble on an infrequent basis can still become addicted to the activity over time. When it comes to gambling addiction facts, this one most exemplifies the role addiction takes in a person’s life.
People who gamble once a month with the rent money are more likely to be addicted than someone who gambles once a week after all the bills are paid. Ultimately, addiction becomes an issue once the behavior starts to cause problems in a person’s life.