You know that casino gaming and/or sports betting has become a problem in your life. You’ve tried to limit or put an end to the activity to no avail and find yourself online exclaiming “I can’t stop gambling please help”. It’s easy to blame a lack of willpower, but that concept is dismissive of deeper underlying issues. Before you can take the most important step towards recovery (detailed below) it’s important to understand why you can’t quit. In knowing this, you will no longer blame yourself, which can compound compromised mental health and tighten the shackles of gambling disorder. Let’s review.
7 Reasons Why You Can’t Stop Gambling and the Next Step to Get Help Right Away
Problem gambling tends to run in families at a higher rate than for many other behavioral and psychiatric disorders:
“Familial factors have been observed in clinical studies of pathological gamblers, and twin studies have demonstrated a genetic influence contributing to the development of PG. Serotonergic, noradrenergic, and dopaminergic dysfunction have been reported as biological factors contributing to the pathophysiology of PG.”National Library of Medicine
Pre-existing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often have co-occuring conditions, which may include gambling disorder. Furthermore, if you are taking certain medications to treat these conditions, you could be consuming one that causes you to gamble. Your battle to stop gambling can be an extremely uphill one if you have a comorbid condition.
The data is clear on this. Men are more likely to take risks and have lower levels of impulsive coping than women. Males are more predisposed to gambling disorder. If you’re a born-male, your risk of not being able to stop is greater.
There are several reasons why teenagers (who are also problem gamblers) and young adults have a harder time quitting gambling. The frontal lobe – the part of the brain responsible for decision-making, problem-solving and emotional regulation – does not fully develop until the mid-20s. On the other side of the age spectrum, elderly individuals who may have reduced cognitive capacity may also find it challenging to end problematic behaviors. If you land on either side of the gamut, you may have identified the culprit.
People who are pleasure-seekers or impulsive risk-takers are more disposed to developing gambling disorder. This is seen many elite athletes who also struggle to quit.
Peer influence is critical social factor. If your friends and/or coworkers frequently discuss gambling and/or participate in sports betting fantasy leagues and playoff pools you’re constantly being exposed to harmful cues. If you add alcohol to the mix by hanging out with these people at the bar, your defenses are way down.
Surrounded by Triggers
This carries over from the social factors above. Beyond the people you surround yourself with, you’ve been surrounded by additional triggers ever since the federal government removed the ban on sports betting back in 2018. Since then, exposure to triggers have gotten progressively worse as nearly every televised/streamed sports event (and shows airing adjacent to them) are riddled with ads that promote sports betting.
Now I Know Why I Can’t Stop Gambling; What Now?
The good news, is that the next step is clear. Given that you can’t stop on your own, you must reach out for support right away. While there may be physical clinics and facilities near you, a lot can happen (as per above) between your decision to get help and the days of your scheduled appointments. Moreover, you may prefer to get anonymous gambling help. This is where Kindbridge Behavioral Health comes in. We’re here, right now. If you want to stop thinking and saying “I can’t stop gambling” please click or call the points-of-contact below.
Stop Gambling: Helpline
CALL +1 (877) 426-4258