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Change your thoughts, change your life

9th June 2017

Guest blogger Fay considers how we can uncover our motivations for gambling problematically, and address them in a positive way.

Gambling is not a new phenomenon. Tiles found in China suggest that games of chance were played as early as 2300 BC, and the Ancient Greeks and Romans gambled at any given opportunity.

While gaming and gambling can be socially rewarding, it’s good to keep in mind that this functions on a continuum. While on one side of the continuum gambling can be a fun, social activity, and can even hone cognitive function, the other side of that continuum is distressful and potentially life shattering.

Gambling is multifaceted. While you can smell alcohol and you can see constricted or dilated pupils, spending a few hours gambling can be a hidden risk.

The more I read on how elements of gambling and gaming overlap, the more it becomes evident to me in the world around me. For example, our smartphones offer internet access at any time, including access to games and gambling. That means when we don’t want to be present in our lives, we seek to escape and connect with an activity that rewards us – an activity we have control over, which we may not feel in other areas of our lives.

Gambling by its very nature has an emotional and motivational involvement. It evokes strong psychological processes, with our brains secreting dopamine and making the experience pleasurable. We seek that feeling over and over again.

We know addictive behaviours change the structure of our brain, but so does any new activity or experience. Our brains are influenced by both nature and nurture, working interactively and circularly, and this changes the way that we interact with our environment. The more we apply ourselves to an activity, the more it changes our brain. Our thought processes are enough to rewire our brains.

At GamCare, we follow a holistic, integrative approach to help people who have been affected by problematic gambling. As well as helping you understand what your motivations might be for engaging in gambling behaviour that negatively affects you or those around you, we can help you reconnect with your surroundings and your loved ones and find positive ways of moving forward – changing your thoughts to change your life.

Our approach gives you freedom to choose your next steps. To find out more, read our FAQs or have a chat with an Adviser on the National Gambling HelpLine.