What Causes Gambling Addiction: How to Stay Safe And Where To Seek Help in USA

For most people, gambling is a fun, entertaining hobby. But for a small percentage of people, gambling can become harmful and lead to chronic mental health conditions such as gambling disorder (gambling addiction). And there is no shortage of reasons as to why this can happen.

Players who may be suffering from gambling-related harm should try to understand the root causes of their behaviors. This is the first step to getting better. Being honest with yourself about your playing patterns and behaviors is the one of the first step to recognizing, or admitting that you have a problem.

Why Do Some People Become Addicts

Psychologists and psychiatrists list a whole other range of reasons a person can become addicted to something. Gambling addiction is a behavioral addiction and some people may suffer from an inability to control one’s impulses. Impulse Control Disorder a.k.a. ICD, is considered a form of mental illness.

Among the additional reasons for a gambling disorder are the desire for an escape from one's everyday life, the illusion of being in control, genetic factors which can increase the production of adrenaline in a body and an obsession with gambling related activities.

The latter can particularly apply to people who bet on sports and feel the need to have a financial as well as an emotional stake in the outcome of games. A sizable amount of people with gambling addictions primarily bet on sports.

In addition, people can develop a need to play games of chance in which the act of wagering produces dopamine in the brain that leads to a happy or euphoric feeling.

Professionals list other factors such as antisocial behavior, failures in either your professional or personal life, and people who suffer from anxiety disorders as possible causes for someone being more susceptible to gambling addiction.

Finally, it's entirely possible people with a gambling addiction might not suffer from any of these symptoms or disorders. Rather, they happened to find out they enjoy gambling by happenstance and before they knew it they were hooked.

Staying Safe

Here at Howtobet.com, we want our players to enjoy gambling in a safe and responsible manner. We review sportsbooks and casinos that are safe, legal and licensed to operate. All of our recommended operators uphold age restriction policies in line with state laws, and require you to verify your age.

Use Responsible Gambling Tools

Sportsbooks and casino are there to help if you feel like your playing behavior has become problematic. Check out their Responsible Gaming pages, and see if they have any tools at hand. Sometimes, a quick chat or email to a provider can be the first step to reducing your harm levels.

Sportsbooks and casinos offer player protections, and these can include some of the following: self-exclusion tools, time limits, cooling-off periods, and deposit limits.

Stop Chasing Loses

One of the biggest issues of someone suffering from problem gambling, is that they may often try to chase their losses, and this can lead to an even worse situation, both financially and emotionally.

Where to seek help for gambling addiction in the USA

As there are many ways in which a person can develop a gambling addiction, there are also plenty of places where they can turn for help. One of the most well-known is Gamblers Anonymous,  which was founded in the 1950s and is an organization that provides an outlet for people with gambling problems to share their experiences and seek help. These are located throughout the country.

The simplest way to find out where you can receive help is by going on the internet and typing in words like "gambling addiction'' or "problem gambling'' in the search engine.

This will lead to various organizations such as the National Problem Gambling Helpline, tel: 1-800-522-4700. Many gambling outlets such as sports apps or state lottery commissions also list phone numbers where gamblers can receive help.

Visit our dedicated Responsible Gambling page to find out more.

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