Pathological gambling is a disease that should not be taken for granted. It is akin to chemical addiction and may not be easily detected at the start. In contrast, the chemically-dependent person would display many indications that would show that he is dependent. The gambler can hide his dependency for long periods of time. However, the large debts that he incurred already pose serious problems to him and his family.
Pathological gambling and chemical dependency are similar in many ways in that the persons here are unable to take control or stop their addiction. They manifest also denials to their addiction and both experience severe depression. The two diseases are progressive and both go through almost the same stages.
Pathological gambling is indeed very serious. The person requires crisis counseling at the start of his treatment since statistics show that pathological gamblers commit higher suicide rate than persons who are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
There are different levels of addiction. It is said that the types of gambling that give ready gratification are the worst kind. The examples of these are the slot machine and video. It was noted that because of the instant gratification and effective reinforcement these bring, the gamblers who play these machines are the ones who usually progress into pathological gamblers than the gamblers that play other games. Moreover, the time frame for one to go from the first bet to a chronic addiction is short for these forms of gambling. Before, it takes years for a person to progress to a “sick” gambler. It is different nowadays as a person can be addicted to a slot machine or in video poker in only a matter of 2 to 3 years. Even casino websites like Poker Online can also be very effective. Basically, online casino is just like land based casino. The only difference is that it is on the Internet and it doesn’t require players to leave the comfort of their homes. Online casino is the hype nowadays.
Findings indicated that pathological gambling could have biological origins. Alec Roy, M.D. conducted a study that showed that compulsive gamblers have low levels of the chemical, norepinephrine which is secreted from the brain when one is stressed, aroused or excited. The pathological gambler is said to engage in addiction in order to raise the levels of norepinephrine. Another expert, Dr. Henry Lesieur, stated that pathological gamblers are simply “thrill seekers” who gamble simply because of the excitement and not for the money.