By now, it is common knowledge that gambling games, from competitive games like poker, blackjack, to games of luck like slots, baccarat, and craps are all addictive games. But did you know that psychologists and psychiatrists classified excessive gambling as a compulsion rather than an addiction for many years in the past? Gambling was perceived as an activity meant to relieve anxiety, instead of one meant to relieve an intense pleasure.
Things had changed when American Psychiatric Association (APA) listed gambling as an impulse-control disorder which was also supported by several studies. The decision had changed the way gambling addiction is perceived and treated.
How does our brain become addicted?
Gambling is a thriving sector in almost all markets across the globe. With the introduction of online casinos, anyone of the legal age, can place a wager and play any casino games inside the comfort of home. Players only need to create and verify their casino account to play gambling games online. In Thai casinos, which has thousands of members across the globe, they offer casino bonuses such as free slot credit no deposit to attract new players in Thailand. This type of bonus can be claimed without the need of depositing any amount. With this offer, casino operators are able to gather more members.
While this is a rewarding offer, players who in online casinos are at risk of being a gambling addict. Several studies in the past detailed that gambling can stimulate the human brain similar to drugs and alcohol which can lead to addiction. This is because of the release of brain chemicals called dopamine.
The release of dopamine is the body’s reward system for self-preservation. Our brain released dopamine when we do things that keep us alive, such as eating or sex. When this chemical is released, we will feel satisfaction and pleasure. However, self-preservation activities aren’t the only things that pump dopamine.
Gambling and taking drugs such as cocaine can stimulate the brain to release dopamine. The pleasure that a person feels when doing these activities hides the threat to our brains. This can potentially lead to addiction.
Our brains instantly respond to discomfort to protect ourselves from situations we don’t like. However, the euphoria that we get from gambling or taking drugs relax our brains and even make it difficult for us to leave. When we continue doing these activities, our brains develop tolerance. The brain will then start to produce less dopamine and becomes less affected by the sensations.
Now, here’s the riskier part. To get the same sensation, the addict will then need to consume more stimulants. Drug addicts will have to take more dosages of drugs, while gambling addicts need to make riskier bets than usual to achieve the desired effects that they have grown accustomed to. In more severe cases, continual doing these activities weakens the neural pathways that connect the reward circuit to the prefrontal cortex. In this stage, controlling impulse becomes almost impossible.
Slot machines are the most addictive games
After compulsive gambling was recognized as an impulse control disorder, several organizations were established to help gambling addicts. In fact, legitimate casino websites are partnered with some of these organizations that can provide support for all gambling problems.
Online casinos offer protection features that can be activated by players manually. The player just needs to inform the customer service. The operator then will block the players to their site for a certain period. They will also provide helplines.
Psychiatrist, nowadays, prescribe medical treatment for those people who wanted to ease their conditions. Others also recommend special therapies that allow the player to control irrational beliefs and unwanted habits. These medications and therapy were proven to be working favorably for those recovering gambling addicts.