Therapy for Gambling Addiction on Long Island
Addiction is not limited to drugs and alcohol. It is possible to be addicted to activities and actions that are not substances, such as video games, pornography, and shopping. But perhaps one of the most common and damaging non-substance addictions is an addiction to gambling.
With Atlantic City only a few miles away, several local Long Island casinos, and easy access to internet gambling, more and more people find that they have developed a gambling addiction that affects their finances, their relationships, and their time. For those that struggle with gambling addiction, call us today at (516) 732-0273 for gambling addiction therapy on Long Island.
How Addiction Works – And Why Gambling is a Common Cause
When we take part in pleasurable activities, the brain naturally releases “good feeling” chemicals, like dopamine. Addiction is caused when a substance or behavior stimulates the brain to release dopamine more and more often. Eventually, this decreases the brain’s sensitivity to dopamine and causes it to make less of it, which leads the addict to seek out more and more “fixes.”
Gambling was once considered an impulse control disorder. But over time it became clear that gambling led to similar addictive behaviors as drugs and alcohol. Drug addiction, for example, often caused people to take more and more of the drug to get the high they needed. Gambling addicts often show a similar addiction, taking more and more risks in both gambling and their financial life in order to feel the same high.
Signs of a Gambling Addiction
Gambling is powerful. The risk/reward system in gambling means that you’re constantly receiving positive feedback for your financial risks, and the frequent winning (despite frequent losing) means that it can always feel like a win is right around the corner, leading to further addiction.
Any time you feel compelled to gamble, or you’d like to stop gambling, it means you may be a candidate for gambling addiction therapy. But there are also many warning signs to watch out for:
- You find yourself gambling money that you do not have.
- You find yourself taking greater and greater financial risks.
- You find yourself regularly distracted by gambling, or allowing gambling to affect your relationships and/or work.
- You find yourself hiding how much you gamble from others
For many, the high from gambling also provides a way to cope with stress and experience more excitement out of life. Despite the financial risks, and the mathematics that proves the casino always wins, those with a gambling addiction are often powerless to stop unless they seek help.
Gambling addiction is rarely caused by any one problem. While gambling itself tends to feed into the addiction, often there are also related contributors, such as problems dealing with the stress of work, difficulties coping with financial issues, and more that may also need to be addressed. In therapy, we look at what other factors may have contributed to the addiction, and find ways to reduce the effects these have on your life.
People At Risk of Developing A Gambling Addiction
Anyone can develop a gambling addiction, especially now, when there are so many ways to access gambling. It isn’t just confined to casinos; you can find games online, on smart phone apps, at convenience stores, and more. This makes knowing whether you’re at risk of addiction and seeking treatment if you do become addicted to gambling even more important.
Although gambling addiction can happen to anyone, some people appear more prone to it than others. In addition, there are some factors that may be contributors to the development of gambling addiction, including:
- Gender – Men are more likely to be addicted to gambling than women. However, women who are gambling addicts tend to develop more severe symptoms more quickly.
- Social Influence – Gambling can be a very social activity, and those with addiction often have friends or family who enjoy gambling.
- Personality – Competitive, restless people who work a lot are at higher risk of directing their energy toward gambling to relieve stress.
- Mental Health Problems – People with depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), personality disorders, and more often also have gambling problems. Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is also common.
For some people with these characteristics, gambling is nothing more than a source of harmless entertainment. But for others, it can affect their relationships, their finances, their work, and their ability to seek out happiness from other sources.
Help for Gambling Addiction on Long Island
If you feel like gambling has become a problem for you or a loved one, it always helps to seek out a counselor that can help fight gambling addiction and provide better coping habits for gambling cravings.
For more information about gambling addiction therapy on Long Island, please give Long Island Psychology a call today at (516) 732-0273. We have two offices conveniently located in areas like Rockville Centre and Garden City, NY.