New information: Gamblling and the human brain. Your thougths?

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    Last post ago over 6 years by drpsyce38
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        As a (former) psychologist I do a lot of reading and research on the psychology and brain function associated with gambling.

        Here is some interesting, recent, research: 

        Near misses produce almost the same "positive brain rush" as wins.  We all know our brains go "yeah-yeah-ga-ga" when we win.  BUT, they produce a similar response when we have a near miss.  For example, if you are playing 3 wheel slots and you spin and land on 1.  Bonus bananna  2.  Bonus bananna, 3.  You miss the third bonus bananna by ONE spot!  You are disappointed, BUT your brain still "pumps" out a positive reaction. 

        Now the bad news of this:  This is one explanation why we play-TOO-much when we know we should stop.  Near misses keep us going.  It also explains why we foolishly blow through an accumulated win-pot.  If near misses still feel good to the brain, we keep playing!

        Now.......tell me.  Has this been your experience.  I would love to test this recent research theory with experienced gamblers!
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        yep yep...I think you are right on the money
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        Yeah, brains are a little stupid...

        Even worse, the other day I read that your brain does all the the decision taking by itself and your conscience is only left to reason out the decision to yourself.

        Did I get this right, psychologically?
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        I am a little surprised that this is "recent" research discovered. Being a addictions counselor and dealing with many gambling addictions this was a very common thing discussed in group and one on one in therapy.

        The slot industry was well aware of this long ago. The slot machine is tailored to tease and taunt the player making them hungry for more and make another deposit or slip another $20 in the machine feeling certain it's going to "pop" soon. The machine is set to make the endorphins in your brain go gaga!!

        There is so many triggers that cause players to keep coming back for more. Chasing the losses hoping to rebound, the thrill of winning, the thrill of coming close to win and escapism just to name a few.

        Women as a whole have a much higher level of getting caught up in these triggers than men do. In more cases than not these woman who did become addicted were escaping from something in there lives. Whether it was loneliness or bad marriages or replacing one addiction with another. Gambling takes you away from the harsh reality in life and seems to be the cure all for what ever is happening that is unpleasant or missing in their lives. Sadly enough this makes for prime targets of addiction. 

        Out of all the addictions.......gambling is the toughest one to conquer. It is harder than kicking the drug habit or the alcohol. One of the theories for this is because out of these 3 addictions gambling is more socially acceptable. It also is the most destructive as a whole and can be the easy to hide in the short term. Gambling addiction not only destroys you it destroys families and leaves them in financial ruins because of the amount of money that can be blown.

        Out of all the addictions, the gambler has the highest rate of suicide than any other addictions. So while it may give a player a temporary high.....the crash can be worse than the aftermath of a coke binge.

        Lips
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        Well said Lips, you were spot on in my book.

        Dr. I agree that the machines do that on purpose, there have been many times, that I would have a near miss, and put more money in because I was sure it was going to hit it.

        Kinda like getting 4 to a Royal Flush in VP. Most people believe if it's handing out the 4 so easily, the 5th one is soon to come, thus they keep on playing.

        The thrill of almost winning is something I think our brain uses to tell us that we will win if we keep on playing.

        I became a little obsessed with gambling when I first started, an addiction maybe. I would play allll day and alll night, but I soon seen what this was doing to me, and now I deposit maybe $20 a month.

        Living in Vegas most of my life Lips, I seen first hand what a gambling addiction could do. My Aunt lost everything, and her husband got so in debt that he took his own life. Gambling addiction is serious.


        :-*
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        My personal experience with gambling, yes very true theres a higher temptation because it is acceptable to society, and you will gamble to ease the troubles mentally wrecking havoc and even the physical pains you are sufferring, it will take you away from those things in the duration of gambling also it is not a chemical you are putting into your body. You're having fun, you beleive you are in your right mind, no thoughts other then that machine in front of you, you can tend to think you have the chance of relieving all the fails and ails of what is going on in your life if you can just hit that big one, which you can beleive you can accomplish with just 20 bucks, and what's 20 bucks now a days?  I think even day dreaming can be an addition. It goes alot deeper for those who do it and theres many more aspects, but with it we do not think about the devastation that 20 bucks can lead us to, one more 20 will do it, this win will be the answer to all the worries and problems in my life, gee it keeps giving me 4 to the royal or lining up 2 of the million dollar hit, i can't leave it now, i warmed it up

        Theres much more and this is in short. I went gambling to get away from her father, the money problems (how ironic) the unhappiness and depression of things going on within myself, the nearest casino was a walk away, as soon as i would walk in the door, i'd take that big deep breath of relaxation, and damn near run to the machine i wanted, sit down and let out that breath and say.. i'm home.

        Another example was i had a terrible toothache, this was in the evening, not being able to visit a dentist til morning, nothing i did was relieving it, i think i took like 14 advils, tried every form of topical anesthetic or natural remedy, hot water, cold water... Well i finally walked out the door and headed towards the casino, still in horrible pain i sat down at a machine. Within the hour the pain subsided, at home i was going through hell with the pain, i come here i find out all it took was mind of matter, but nothing esle would do.. relieved. As soon as i walked out and towards home, it was coming back. So i'm saying thats how strong the pain reliever "gambling" can be. Whether physical pain or mental.

        In short..Yes, it got bad, i lost every single thing i possessed, to the utmost in embarressment, living in cheap weeklys, i did quit and i did get on my feet.. my luck was my daughter. It is now something i can control, something i had a good hard lesson with, i can take it or leave it.

        Drugs, thats been my monster, the worst nightmare, i'm clean but if i ever were to just let a tiny taste in.. i'll have no control and i'll let that monster eat me alive over and over again. The chemical substance that envades my body will control every fiber, then the brain along with the body reacts with it's dependency on that rush just wanting more and more. You can't tell your brain and your body no more, it's a fight you have to give in to, no matter what it takes to feed it, you're gonna do it.. majority rules. (this is my personal experience, not a perception and i do feel that the only way another is to understand it is one that has been there)

        Gambling and alcohol i can be around and have control, infact enjoy the brain rush and i can walk away, drugs.. thats a no, i have to stay away from.

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        Lips....you are so right!  (As USUAL!)  The casinos have known about the "near miss high" long before psychology got a handle on it.  So, when your slot machine hits 2 cherries and bananna with a cherry miss by one.....well.
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        Imagin.ation wrote:

        (this is my personal experience, not a perception and i do feel that the only way another is to understand it is one that has been there)

        This comment i heard over and over when i was a counselor. Many would  say to me "are  you an addict yourself"? When i would say no i was not the door would shut in some cases, feeling that there was no way i could relate to them. That and the fact that of my youth at the time. I got my degree when i was 21 years old......"what could i possibly know". I learned very early on not to disclose whether i was an addict or not because it worked against me.

        It was these comments that i have to admit i felt some what defeated in some cases and would have to turn the patient over to another counselor who was a reformed addict.

        I went into the field not because of any personal reasons....but because i wanted to reach out and help people. I only hope that when someone does seek help and does speak to a counselor that they understand there are some of us who don't have to walk in your shoes to be compassionate understand what your going through.

        After all we dedicated our lives to getting an education to help people.

        Lips 
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        Ahhhh...the blessing of the "wounded healer."
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        Imagin....your words are very good.  I would have to differ with you on one matter.  Gambling DOES inject your body with a chemical.  Gambling hooks the brain on certain chemical reactions/responses that gambling supplies.

        For example, when you put $20 in a slot machine and win, say $30...then, you put that $30 back in and loose it all, your brain is certainly undergoing an "injection" of chemical process.  When you loose your last dollar gambling, it likely because you have been chasing a chemical "bath" that you felt when you won the $30, but alas, the rush didn't arrive, so you spend the next day "hung over" with regret, guilt, shame and remorse.
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        I understand that Doc, what i mean is the action of putting a known chemical in your system, knowingly doing it, knowing it can cause harm to yourself, people will beleive that it isn't addicting, they are not adding a substance.. vs the own bodies chemical reactions. Some people really steer away from actual chemical drugs because they do know the harm, so for an addict gambling is the perfect drug.. you know what i mean?
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        drpsyce38 wrote:

        Ahhhh...the blessing of the "wounded healer."
        Doc.........your not suppose to tell that!!!
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        You got it!  Gambling does a real number on the brain.  I have shared this here before:  When I go to a casino, I take my first 3 or 4 hours of winnings and lock in a box that has the key at HOME.  Why?  Because the gambling will start influencing my brain in a way where I don't have "normal" control.  This is to prevent what is commonly called "Holy crap!  I can't believe I blew my wad!" 

        Math and brain chemistry makes winning at gambling very hard.  I really think its a matter of 1.  getting very, very lucky.  or 2.  Getting ahead and stopping.
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        Hold up, back to what rocco said.  How many times has anyone said I wont do it, or I don't know what I am going to do; when we know damn well exactly what we are going to do and are just trying to justify what we know we are going to do.

        I know myself very well.  When I think I may be starting down the impulse road I usualy ask a friend or my girlfriend to make sure I don't go too far.  The only problem is I also know that if I am ahead (like if I am up $400-$500) I will automaticly raise my base bet untill I either win big or loose around 40% or my bankroll.  At least I know the secret of forcing myself to leave the local casino when I am up,  Order a large pizza.  I will be dammed if I am going to carry around a pizza for verry long in a cassino.
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        There is also the visual excitement which is addicting, the thrill of winning which that single one thrill will grab ahold of you and won't let go until you reach it again and then again.. no matter what it takes. You'll spend 1000's and 1000's til you hit that thrill, and soon no amount of win satisfies it. You can't get ahead.. you'll be right back in that cycle doing it over and over.

        I remember many times sitting there saying, well if i hit this 1000.00 i'll be alright, i can pay my bills, fill the house with groceries, buy a few things, this is how it started out i'd do just that, now i'd hit that 1000.00 and find all i got is more money to gamble with, raise my bets.. now i can "really relax and play" all i wanted was to gamble more, get up to go find another machine to fill the thrill.. this is the least of this addiction that it can do.. rock bottom is far from this, some peoples rock bottom are softer then others..

        This here that i am explaining is the simple top of mind state of what happens, what the brain can do to you for control is lead you out of control. What part of the brain does this?

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