Gateway “Drugs” to Gambling You’re Surprised to Find Out About

While they may not understand all of the details, most Americans (yourself included) are not surprised to learn that there are preexisting mental health disorders that may cooccur with gambling addiction. Nor is it surprising to find out that alcohol and drug abuse is also deeply connected to compulsive gambling. It’s easy enough to put your defenses up against the threat of addiction when you know what to watch for. However, there are other gateways to gambling that most people are shocked to discover. When there is a lack of knowledge about such things, vulnerable individuals let their guard down. This is when the lure of gambling strikes. To ensure that you and your household are aware of what these gateway gambling “drugs” are, Kindbridge Behavioral Health has stepped in to raise awareness. Please keep reading.

4 Things that May Contribute to a Problematic Relationship with Casino Gaming and Sports Betting Americans Didn’t Know About

Fantasy Sports

On September 25, the Florida Gaming Control Commission issued cease-and-desist letters to three daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators over potential illegal sports betting activities. This recent news piles on to the growing stack of evidence to suggest that seemingly harmless DFS is nothing more than a form of gambling. View more on the risk of gambling addiction when playing fantasy sports and take the necessary precautions.

Video Gaming

This one often comes as a surprise to parents, who through gaming system purchases and allowance of time-spent-gaming may become facilitators to the development of gambling disorder. Research shows that video game players are 4.3 times more likely to participate in gambling. Anyone who is an at-risk gambler needs to be mindful of this. Games with gambling crossover potential, specifically those that literally promote gambling such as Grand Theft Auto should be avoided at all costs. Meanwhile, ensure that your teens (or yourself) practice responsible gaming (view tips).

In addition to monitoring which video games are being played and significantly limiting time spent gaming, take note that more direct approaches are required to protect vulnerable youth. Early intervention education is the key, both at home (parents) and even in the school environment (educators) which is where teenagers spend the bulk of their days.

Free Time

It’s widely understood that individuals with too much idle time on their hands tend to eat and drink more than they should. While many assume consumption is just a matter of passing the time, there’s real science behind the behavior. When bored, the human brain lacks stimulation, which causes dopamine levels to drop. This triggers the brain to take action to bring dopamine levels back up. Eating and drinking do the job. This is a manageable concern for most people, but there are also millions of Americans who battle obesity and alcoholism who don’t manage quite so well. Subsequently, one may infer that boredom can be considered a gateway (not an outright cause) to unhealthy levels of consumption. The same dopamine-inducing behavior has been found in relation to habitual; gambling which is why it is so very important to keep oneself occupied with healthier activities.

Your Job

No, this gambling gateway isn’t directed at people who work within the casino or sports betting industry (although that is also worth exploring). Instead, we’re referencing certain vocations and career choices that have a surprisingly concerning connection to gambling disorder. For example, research consistently shows that the rate of problem gambling among active duty military is 3.5 times higher than among the general population. It makes one wonder why land-based casinos are disproportionately close to U.S. military bases in America and overseas. Research has also found that the prevalence of problem gambling in athletes is markedly greater than with the general public. If you (or a loved one) is employed/engaged in these occupations, monitor the relationship with gambling very closely, or abstain altogether.

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