Why It Is Hard To Quit Gambling


Gambling is any activity that involves risking something of value with the intent of winning another item of value. This can take place in a variety of settings, from casinos to gas stations, racetracks and even on the Internet. It is important to note that gambling is not a profitable way to make money, and many people who gamble end up losing more than they win.

It is also important to understand that not all gambling activities are the same. Some people can stop themselves after playing a few rounds of poker or putting a few coins in a slot machine, but others become addicted to gambling and suffer significant losses over time. It is therefore important to only ever gamble with disposable income and never with money that you need to pay bills or rent with.

A big reason why some people find it hard to quit gambling is that they have a tendency to rationalise their losses. This is a common human inclination and can lead to serious consequences. A good example is the likelihood of getting heads on a coin flip: if we flip the coin 7 times and get tails, we tend to think that the next head will balance out the odds, but this is not true. Each coin flip has the same chance of being heads or tails, regardless of how many times we have flipped it in the past.

Another reason why some people continue to gamble is that they have a tendency to overestimate their chances of winning. This can be caused by stories they have heard about people who have won the lottery or by memories of previous lucky streaks. In addition, many people are influenced by other factors that can increase their chances of winning, such as the mood-changing effects of gambling (Per Binde, 2013).

Some people who are addicted to gambling may hide their gambling habits from their friends and family members, or they may lie about how much they are spending on it. This is because they believe that if others know about their addiction, they will try to stop them from gambling and cause them harm.

In 2013, the DSM-5 changed its definition of pathological gambling and made it an impulse control disorder, akin to substance addiction. While this doesn’t absolve those who are addicted to gambling of their responsibility, it does help to explain some of the underlying reasons why they are unable to quit. It also helps to highlight the importance of seeking therapy and other treatment for those affected by this issue. For example, marriage, career and credit counseling can be helpful in repairing damage done by problem gambling and helping to restore relationships that have been damaged by the disorder. Additionally, addressing any underlying issues such as depression, stress or anxiety can also be very beneficial for people with this type of disorder.