What Is Gambling Disorder?

People gambling on a poker chip table

When Casinos Hijack The Reward System

Imagine coming from a successful family: your dad is a lawyer, your brothers are physicians and you’re spending endless nights in Atlantic City gambling your life away, hoping to earn more money . . . deciding at 5am that you no longer have energy and you run back to your hotel to crash, only to wake up at 6pm and start all over again. In addition, you consume alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine; anything that can give you that extra edge. Welcome to Gambling Disorder.

Gambling Disorder is a real diagnosis experienced by millions of people worldwide:

1) Gamblers need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to experience a desired excitement. $100 dollars no longer does it. $1000 dollars no longer does it. $10,000 is the next magic number, until they crash and burn.

2) Gamblers become restless and irritable when they crash and burn. They attempt to stop but can’t. The loss is on their mind. They believe that next time will be different. And so they return back to gamble more hours of their life away.

3) Gamblers have made many unsuccessful attempts to cut back. The virus has struck their mind and their circuity has been hijacked: they need to win more money so they can feel good again. Not gambling actually makes them sad.

4) Gamblers think of ways of obtaining money for which to gamble with. Some forge checks, some steal, some use all their money from their jobs. It’s a never-ending cycle.

5) Gamblers gamble when distressed: anxiety, guilt, helplessness, depression. Their mental health takes a toll; they will sacrifice their well-being for the hope of winning money.

6) Gamblers “chase one’s losses.” They will return the next day to make up for what they lost. Say goodbye to your job, your family and your friends.

7) Gamblers lie. They cannot reveal to people that they have an issue. The only people who know at first is the employees at the casino. But they don’t care. It’s a business.

8) Gamblers lose relationships. Their friends and families give up on them. They have a failed marriage, a failed career. Their addiction as taken over them.

9) Gamblers have desperate financial situations. They ask others for money. They do anything to go back to the casino. They have lost it.

This is the life of a person with Gambling Disorder. We must come together and help these people live a normal life again. Stigma and pointing the finger are not the answers. This is a mental disease that needs grave attention. We are in this together.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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