People who do not gamble regularly feel that even contemplating the thought of progressing into compulsive gamblers is a ridiculous one. However, the beginning may be in some impulsive circumstances or situations. However, the conditions are always real.
The similarity between chemical dependency and pathological gambling:
The major similarity is nothing but the helplessness and the inability to stop or reduce the addiction. The denial and refusal of the addiction and also severe depression are similarities. Both these diseases are progressive and both go through stages that are similar.
The beginning stage is the chase in which there is a quest for the high of winning. The addiction is used to nullify the pain that is brought by the problems. A pathological gambler and the person dependent on drugs and alcohol will have nothing but their addiction on their mind. Their self esteem becomes very low and they look for nothing but immediate gratification.
A case of pathological gambling, unlike chemical addiction, is not an easily notable disease. Many indicators can be used to identify a person who is chemically dependent. However, a gambler may be normal for extended periods of time. Only if they incur a very huge debt by losing in gambles, will people come to know about his potential problem.
Pathological gamblers need nothing more than a crisis counselling right in the beginning of their treatment as the rate of suicides of gamblers is far higher than the rate of suicides of drug or alcohol addicts.
Levels of addiction of gambling:
Many gambling forms that provide immediate satisfaction are the ones of the worst kind. A video and slot machine are the well known examples of such happenings. Effective reinforcement and instant gratification are machines that are used most by the pathological gamblers more than any other game.
The time that is taken to move from the initial bet to the chronic addiction is very low for this type of gambling. In olden days it used to take ages for a gambler to get addicted to a machine. Nowadays it has become very common in seeing a person getting addicted to a machine within a few months or a maximum of 2 to 3 years only.
Nature of pathological gambling:
The latest discoveries in this field indicate that the dependency of gambling is a one that is similar to chemical dependency. Alec Roy, MD, a psychiatrist has studied and inferred that norepinephrine low in pathological gamblers as compared to the normal gamblers.
This chemical is one which is secreted by the brain when it is stressed, excited or aroused. When a pathological gambler indulges in these activities, he actually tries to increase the level of norepinephrine, which becomes an addiction.
These findings are reinforced by Dr. Henry Lesieur finding that a pathological gambler is a thrill seeker who gambles, not for money, but for the excitement.