Many of us have a love-hate relationship with betting. On the one hand, we enjoy the exhilaration of a winning bet; on the other, we fear the disappointment of a losing one.
While the thrill of winning is undeniable, the agony of losing is something that can really test your relationship with gambling. For those who have entered the world of betting via online casinos, the agony of losing can be particularly acute. After all, the odds of winning are generally much in your favor when playing at an online casino, so the sting of losing isn’t as much as it would be if you were playing on your phone or on the road. In fact, many of us bet online because we want to be able to avoid the agony of losing that we sometimes experience when betting on the sports we love.
But what is this strange addiction that compels us to wager when the odds are in our favor? Why do we risk our hard-earned cash when we feel like we have a good shot at winning?
Let’s explore the psychology of betting so that we can better understand this addiction and how to tackle it. We’ll begin by examining the underlying causes of betting addiction; then, we’ll move on to discussing various treatments (both traditional and modern) for this affliction.
The Roots of Betting Addiction
As the name would suggest, gambling addiction is a form of addiction that develops when a person becomes obsessed with gambling. Like any addiction, this one has its roots in psychology. People who are susceptible to developing this addiction may be experiencing some difficulties in their life that make them feel a need to seek relief in gambling.
Often, those who develop a betting addiction are thrill seekers who seek excitement in life. The excitement of taking a wager may seem harmless enough at first. You might even say that it’s a way of life for some people. Yet, the excitement of gambling can quickly turn to desperation if you aren’t careful.
According to addiction psychologist Peter Jaffe, Ph.D., this desperation can manifest in numerous ways. Some people with gambling addiction may develop a significant obsession with winning. They might also try to hide their addiction from friends and family members, or they may even lie about it. And while there are no concrete numbers available, Jaffe estimates that as many as 80% of those who develop this addiction will likely attempt to quit at some point.
What’s more, people with gambling addiction frequently experience stress, anxiety, and depression. This is especially concerning because, as we’ve established, those who develop this kind of addiction are frequently also experiencing psychological problems in other parts of their lives. In fact, Jaffe notes that gambling addiction is often a symptom of other disorders, such as addictions to alcohol, drugs, or food. These individuals might also have problems with self-control or impulsivity.
In short, if you’re reading this and you think that you or someone you know might have a problem with gambling, then it might be time to sit back and consider treatment. But before you get to that point, it’s important to understand the nature of the addiction and what makes someone vulnerable to developing this disease.
Why the Humble Wallet Isn’t Enough
We’ve established that those who develop a gambling addiction are frequently those who also have other addictions. This would explain why entering the world of gambling invariably means entering the world of addiction. But how does this relate to the humble wallet?
If you’re carrying a lot of cash in your wallet, you might as well pack your bags and head for the casinos. It’s a short hop from there to the racetrack or the poker tables. But why should you go to all that effort when you can play online with the same excitement from the comfort of your home?
As we’ve established, psychology plays a significant role in why some people become obsessed with gambling. But there’s also another important factor that doesn’t get nearly enough attention: the technology of gambling. When you play online, the technology does most of the thinking for you. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the show. And lest we forget, this technology is made available by the very companies that profit from our addiction. So, while we like to think of ourselves as the sole victims of this disease, the truth is that technology is the root of the problem.
Treatments For Betting Addiction
Now that we’ve explored the psychology of betting and why it’s such a dangerous addiction, let’s talk about treatments. It would be best to begin by defining what exactly we’re talking about here. When we say treatment, we’re referring to any act or course of treatment that aims at helping a person overcome their addiction, whether that person is ready to admit it or not.
According to Jaffe, one of the best things you can do for yourself (and, by extension, for those around you who are also prone to this disease) is to try to understand why you have a problem with gambling in the first place. He suggests working through the following steps:
- Take an honest look at yourself and your addiction. Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest. You can be straightforward about how you feel and where you think you might be going wrong. This is your path to recovery. It might be a long road, but you’ll get there. Don’t expect others to solve your problems for you. Everyone needs help at one time or another, and that includes you.
- You might be wondering why you have a problem with gambling. Is it because you think you’ll lose? Are you trying to avoid something? Do you feel guilty about gambling? These are all valid questions, and it’s up to you to answer them honestly. If you can’t answer yes to any of these questions, then you probably don’t have a gambling problem. But if you can, then it’s time for you to step up and take responsibility for your actions.
- Now that you understand the nature of the problem, you can begin to work on solutions. Are you looking for a way to curb your addiction? You might try working with a psychologist or other trained professionals to devise a plan of action. If you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, then it might be time to consider looking into AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) groups for support. They can be a great place to begin the healing process.
- The road to recovery is never easy. It’s filled with ups and downs. Sometimes, you’ll feel like you’re making progress and then BAM!—out of nowhere, you’ll encounter something that makes you feel insecure or guilty about where you are in your journey. Just remember: you’re not alone. There are thousands of others out there who are on the same road as you. And that’s what gives you hope—you know that if you keep fighting, you’ll eventually make it back to where you started. But until then, you’ll have to deal with the ups and downs of recovery on your own.
- One of the most important things for you to remember as you work on your recovery is that you’re not a problem. It’s not your fault that you have a problem with gambling. You didn’t ask for it, and it’s certainly not your responsibility to fix it. You simply need to change how you relate to it. Instead of seeing it as a problem, consider it as a part of yourself that you’re working to understand and overcome. It’s a bit like chewing gum and swallowing a piece of wood. You’ll never fully digest it, but you’ll learn to live with it. The same principle applies here. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you’ll be able to move forward and begin living a happy and healthy life again.
There are also numerous traditional methods of treatment that you can try. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven to be highly effective in treating gambling addiction. A 2013 review of 50 clinical trials found that CBT was more effective than sham therapy (placebo treatment) in reducing gambling-related behavior and symptoms. The review also concluded that those who underwent CBT were significantly less likely to relapse than those in the sham therapy group.
The Future of Betting
It would be best for everyone if we didn’t have to explain the danger of betting addiction. But, unfortunately, the world we live in isn’t that perfect. There are still cases of individuals who suffer from this disease, and that’s why it’s important that we take the time to discuss these things. While technology makes it possible to gamble from the comfort of our homes, it also makes it easier for those around us to fall into the trap of betting addiction. That’s why it’s important to remain vigilant and aware of the signs of this illness.