How to Avoid Gambling Addiction


Gambling is an activity in which people risk something of value in exchange for a potential prize. This could be money, property or even a life. Many people gamble responsibly and enjoy the experience but for some it becomes a problem. This is known as gambling disorder and can negatively affect a person’s physical and mental health, relationships with friends and family, work or study performance and leave them in serious debt and even homeless.

Many factors can lead to a gambling problem, from genetic predispositions to the way the brain responds to gambling. Research has found that the reward circuits of the brain are activated by the experience of winning and losing and that some individuals have a greater susceptibility to develop gambling problems. In addition to this, some drugs can trigger a similar response in the brain and can lead to addiction.

In order to avoid gambling addiction, it is important to recognise the warning signs of a problem and seek help immediately. If you think your gambling is affecting your life, the first step is to set yourself a budget and only gamble with disposable income, not money that you need to pay for bills and rent. It is also a good idea to keep your gambling money separate from your everyday spending and to only use a specific amount each day.

If you find yourself thinking about gambling all the time or constantly feel the urge to throw a coin in a slot machine, it is likely you have a gambling problem and need to seek help. The longer you gamble, the more conditioned your brain becomes and it becomes more difficult to control your impulses. This means that you will start to gamble more and more to get the same pleasure you used to from the original small amount.

Another common reason why people become addicted to gambling is that it gives them a temporary escape from their own problems. This may be because they are experiencing boredom, depression or grief. For others, gambling can be a way of bonding with friends or colleagues. The media often portrays gambling as glamorous, exciting and fun so it can be tempting to join in.

It is important to remember that gambling can be addictive and that the house always has an advantage over the player. The chances of winning are very slim and it is important to know your limits and never chase your losses, thinking you are due a big win and can make back all the lost money. This is known as the gambler’s fallacy and it is a very dangerous trap to fall into. CU Boulder students can access help and support for any issues arising from gambling or other behaviours through AcademicLiveCare. You can schedule a counseling or psychiatry appointment on the site. It is completely free and accessible for all CU Boulder students, faculty and staff. You can access these services from any location where you have an internet connection.