Ben Campbell is a student at M.I.T. in Boston. Ben is someone who works hard and has a strong desire for success, and he wants to transfer to Harvard School of Medicine with the hopes of being a doctor one day. This sounds good, however, Ben comes from a working-class family that has a track record that doesn’t lead to a lot of money. Ben is introduced to a Math professor at M.I.T. that has a small, secret club of five students. The club specializes in counting cards during games of blackjack, and they win big. Ben sees this as an opportunity to make the money he needs to transfer to Harvard and begin his pathway towards medicine. He decides to join the “club” and was only planning to be involved in counting cards until he earns enough money for medical school. Ben discovers his extreme talent for counting cards and becomes addicted to it. He gets a high from leaving the casino with stacks of money. Greed takes over Ben and because of that, Ben *spoiler alert* loses everything.
This scenario comes from the movie 21, and even though this is the plot line of a movie, it is an extremely real problem people face. Gambling can cause harm to those engaging in it and their loved ones. Just like any other addiction, gambling can change an individual’s brain so that they become dependent. At Thriveworks Maumelle, we have therapists who specialize in helping those struggling with gambling addiction.
Common Myths Associated with Gambling Addiction:
There are multiple myths and beliefs that surround gambling. Have you ever thought to compare those myths to reality? Let’s look at some of the common myths about gambling:
- My luck will change, and I am sure I will win my money back
- I haven’t won recently, I must be due for a win
- The more I play, the greater my chances are for winning
- Today is my lucky day
While these thoughts sound pleasant, the reality is much different. When you gamble, there is only a chance of winning money.
Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
When discussing gambling addiction, it is important to remember that a lot of people gamble, but not everyone is addicted. Gambling addiction mimics substance addiction in one’s brain—dopamine floods the brain. This dopamine causes a high that then one becomes addicted to.
When someone who casually gambles loses money, chances are they stop. When someone with a gambling addiction loses money, they feel compelled to keep playing to win that money back. The DSM-5 gives criteria for diagnosing and recognizing addiction. Of these symptoms, an individual with a gambling addiction will exhibit a minimum of four for at least a year:
- Spending more and more on gambling in order to feel good feelings
- When attempting to curb or stop, experiencing emotions like restlessness and irritability
- Gambling as a way to cope with difficult feelings, like guilt, anxiety, depression, and more
- Gambling to attempt to win money back that has been lost
- Deceiving others about where, when, how, and how much one is gambling
- Risking one’s opportunities, relationships, jobs, and more (not just money) in order to wager
- Borrowing money from others in order to place one’s bets
- Continuing to gamble despite financial hardships
Schedule a Session at Thriveworks Maumelle Today
Here at Thriveworks Maumelle we strive to create a welcoming and personalized environment to treat our patients. We know that no two individuals experience gambling addiction in the same way. And our addiction counselors are ready and willing to help people in their recovery journey.
At Thriveworks Maumelle we strive to create a personalized treatment plan for every patient. In this manner we try to ensure that our clients’ individual needs are met in the best way possible. At Thriveworks we accept many different insurance plans as well as offer flexible hours with weekend and evening availability.
Thriveworks has a “no waiting list” policy. We want our clients to get the help they need as soon as possible. So, if you are struggling from a gambling addiction, reach out to Thriveworks Maumelle today to schedule an appointment and find healing at (501) 628-9066.