A report published in the British Medical Journal claimed that the economic cost of gambling addiction had been substantially underestimated. There are an estimated nearly half-a-million problem gamblers in the UK. They are more likely to be in lower economic classes and least able to afford such an addiction. Some of the increase in problem gamblers has been linked to those playing fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
Our brains have a reward system, so when we have a rewarding experience our brains send chemical messages which stimulate neurons in the brain. The main neurotransmitter within the reward system is known as dopamine. When lots of dopamine is released, we experience pleasure and are motivated to the same activity which causes pleasure.
Addiction occurs because the brain becomes conditioned to wanting more and more of the activity to trigger the reward system. There is some evidence that some people are genetically predisposed to become addicted to either gambling or other addictions, such as illegal drugs or alcohol. Being impulsive is one component of being addicted.
The first stage of recovery is recognising that you have a problem with gambling. This can include causing huge financial problems and neglecting others parts of your life. Hypnosis and hypnotherapy operate at the subconscious level. The benefit of this is that it can change underlying thoughts about gambling.
Hypnotherapy involves making positive suggestions to the subconscious mind. This may include making positive suggestions for managing stress, if gambling is used as a relief for managing stress. It may be that a particular trigger set off a gambling addiction. Hypnotherapy can help deal with such triggers and assistant with altering your feelings and behaviours around gambling. If you are concerned with your gambling, get in touch and find out more about hypnotherapy and how it can help you.