How Stress Fuels Addiction to Gambling
Each person deals with stress in their own unique way. Some turn to gambling as a way to reduce their stress, while some people might choose to exercise or watch TV. This may result in a vicious cycle where gambling eventually consumes the person completely.
Why Does Stress Occur?
What is pressure? Stress is a sensation of stress, whether it be mental or bodily, according to the National Library of Medicine. It can result from any situation or idea that gives you anxiety, rage, or frustration.
Anyone occasionally feels stressed out, for a variety of reasons. Responsibilities at work, money worries, keeping up with current events, relationship issues, and other factors can all cause stress.
What then occurs in our bodies when we experience stress? The fight-or-flight reaction is a common emotional response. When we feel attacked, we have this reaction. The adrenaline and cortisol that our brain releases in response causes our pulse to increase, muscles to tense up, and respiration to quicken. The short-term benefits of the stress hormone cortisol outweigh the long-term risks to the body, particularly the heart.
Stress is typically viewed negatively by the majority of individuals. We rush through life, trying to fit everything that needs to get done into our busy schedules and thinking that stress is bad for us, so it makes sense that we would do anything to avoid it.
How Stress and Gambling are Related
One method of coping with stress is through gambling, which can also be used as a diversion from and a coping mechanism for life’s stresses. In reality, nearly 50% of people with gambling disorders who were receiving cognitive behavioral therapy named stressful emotions as a significant gambling trigger.
“I gamble when I’m emotional, like if I’ve had a bad day or stressful day,” said one user of an online gambling site. “I temporarily forget because of it. It is understandable that gaming can be addictive if it “helps” people unwind. People’s reactions to gambling will be greater the more stressed they are.”
The issue is that both stress and gambling have a cyclical character. A person’s desire to gamble increases as their level of worry increases. However, a person will become more stressed the more they wager. Financial worry is just one of many new stressors that gambling can bring up.
Problem gamblers think that if they could just earn enough money, gambling would relieve their financial stress. This makes gamblers pursue losses, which only pushes them further into debt from their wagering and feeds their addiction.
The stress of trying to stop gambling may combine with other life stressors, increasing the likelihood that people with gambling disorders will turn to gaming to relieve their stress. This may increase their risk of relapsing.
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