Dopamine is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation. It’s often referred to as the “feel good hormone” because a surge of dopamine can create an experience similar to the euphoria associated with use of cocaine or other addictive stimulant drugs.
Gambling and dopamine are closely connected, as both casino gaming and sports betting are known to raise dopamine levels. This can drive you to keep gambling even when you know that you should stop to collect your winnings or accept your losses. On that latter note, research finds that losing can trigger a release of dopamine to almost the same extent as winning. Over time, your brain and body become accustomed to this psychological and physiological response and habitual behavior is formed.
As a compulsive gambler who wants to escape the grip that the activity has on your life, the gambling dopamine connection is troubling. The connection infers that quitting gambling is not just about changing your behavior, but battling a powerful neurotransmitter that communicates messages between nerve cells in your brain and the rest of your body. Knowing this makes you feel powerless. We understand what you’re feeling and we’re here to let you know that you can be empowered today. How? By replacing the dopamine release that comes from gambling with a formidable dopamine release from healthy pursuits. Let’s get to it!
Note: Please avoid the use of prescription dopamine agonists as a means to combat problem gambling. Research has shown that these are included in the list of prescription medications that can cause you to gamble.
How to Replace the Dopamine Release from Compulsive Gambling and be Free from its Harmful Grip
One-on-One Counseling for Problem Gambling
Counseling on its own does not produce dopamine for patients. However, therapy can help you identify, alter, or remove stressors from your life that can indirectly increase dopamine levels as you begin to enjoy a healthier and a better overall life. The more powerful the therapy, the better. For therapy to be powerful, it must be specific to your behavioral health concern, which in this case means that you need to attend counseling that is specific to gambling disorder. Kindbridge Behavioral Health is America’s preeminent online resource for problem gambling therapy. Click the link below to get started:
Group Therapy for Problem Gambling
Studies have shown a relationship between dopamine release and positive social interactions. We suggest that you combine the power of problem gambling therapy with a social component that comes in the form of group therapy for gambling disorder. You may prefer this as your entry into recovery, or you may prefer to begin with one-on-one sessions and incorporate group sessions as you feel more comfortable. In addition to one-on-one counseling, Kindbridge offers group therapy for gambling disorder. Click the link below to connect to others who share your experiences with problematic gambling behavior.
Frequently Engage in Healthy Dopamine Producing Activities
Now here comes the fun part. You can replace the rush of dopamine that you currently get from gambling with highly engaging activities that are mentally and physically healthy. They initiate similar physiological and psychological processes and together with therapy will significantly increase your odds of being free from gambling’s harmful grip. These activities include the following:
- Outdoor Recreation (especially ocean-based!)
- Competitive Team Sports
There is science to back the application of the activities that we’ve listed above. For further insight, please read more on Healthy Gambling Alternatives That Actually Work.
Break the Gambling Dopamine Connection Today
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