Gambling is a serious addiction just like substance abuse.

More and more, researchers are learning about the gambling impulse. People understand more about its effects on those who suffer from addiction than ever before.

From the outside looking in, it may be difficult to understand. Why do people gamble? There are many different causes and they depend on each individual.

Here are five common reasons people develop gambling addictions.

1. The Thrill

Many gambling addicts become addicted after experiencing a big win. They might win a huge monetary sum at the start of their gambling life and want to chase that feeling.

The highs and lows of gambling mirror any other addiction. It becomes about achieving the high of winning. Wins make it easier to forget or overlook hard financial losses.

The thrill of winning is also what allows addicts to rationalize why they continue to gamble.

2. Access

Gambling is a diverse recreational activity and comes in different forms. Casinos, lottery tickets, and personal bets are just a few types of gambling. Whatever activity it is, open access has an impact on the development of addiction.

If someone lives in a place where gambling is available, he or she has fewer obstacles to doing it. For instance, someone who lives in a city with several casinos will find it easier to gamble on a regular basis.

3. Personal Issues

Issues in a person’s social life can contribute to the early stages of a gambling addiction. It’s a form of escapism for some gamblers.

Personal troubles such as grief, unemployment, or a difficult relationship can lead to the desire to escape daily life. Gambling functions as a way to release stress which can keep people going back.

Treatment for gambling addiction aims to address these issues.

4. Biological Reasons

While gambling has roots in social circumstances, it can also be traced back to an individual’s biology. Some studies have shown that gambling, like drugs, rewires a person’s brain chemistry. It can affect the brain in a deeper, more biological sense.

A psychological study showed that some gamblers had less of a chemical called “norepinephrine.” The study suggests that addiction to a high-stress activity like gambling is the brain addressing this chemical imbalance.

5. Financial Problems

Financial trouble may also lead to a gambling addiction. People desperate to fix a financial issue in their life may gamble in hopes they will win big.

In the moment, gambling may appear like the quick way to get out of a bad situation. But for some gamblers, this can lead to a long-term problem.

So Why Do People Gamble?

Answering the question, “why do people gamble?” is a challenging task. Every person’s life experiences and background lead them to where they are now.

But there are ways to tell whether you or someone you know has developed a gambling addiction. Signs of gambling addiction include secrecy and not being able to control the gambling urge. Another red flag is gambling when you can’t afford to do so.

For more information or help treating addiction, contact us today.