What is addiction? Usually, we associate this notion with drugs, alcohol, or smoking. But, actually, the compulsive behavior can be applicable to many things, including pastime. An individual can be addicted to literary anything which makes him physical or psychological pleasure.
That is why many people often become crazy about such activities as extreme sports and gambling. The sport itself is a good way to spend free time with friends or alone. Physical activity strengthens our musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems, burns fat, and lowers the harmful cholesteric levels.
It increases our self-esteem and improves our quality of life. Casino activities help socialize, get beneficial acquaintances and relieve stress. On the other hand, sometimes sportsmen and bettors cross the line and endanger themselves.
These two leisure activities have nothing in common, for the first glance. But in fact, they both can become a dangerous obsession. Let us then discuss on this influence in details.
What Common with Gambling Addiction?
The extreme sports addiction has a bunch of traits similar to compulsive gambling:
- Shared personality. Psychologists distinguish several types of personalities. There is a T-type (derived from thrill) which has risk-seeking, impulsive, brave and adventurous nature. These people seek pleasure in active sports and traveling, they love experiments. They value impressions and strong feelings. But the reverse of the coin is excessive devotion to the subject of interest.
- Self-harm. Both gamblers and sports addicts spend money on the things they have no need for. Obtaining tons of gear and outfit without actual need does not differ from overspending money on gambling. Moreover, sportsmen are usually obsessed with workouts. They do not give their bodies time to recover from drills and injuries. They spend most of their time training, paying less attention to their health similarly to gamers spending days and nights at casinos or gaming websites.
- Psychological trauma. In many cases, the addicted person wants to compensate pain, relieve stress by immersing themselves in their hobby. Psychological problems lead to this sort of obsession. It also may be a sort of self-affirmation by setting records or winning a Poker session.
Reasons for Becoming Extreme and Gambling Addicted
Gambling or extreme sports addictions share the same nature. Also, they have several common reasons. The before-mentioned psychological problems can turn out to be a trigger for the obsession. Yes, bullying, divorces, accidents, deaths and any other major commotions are likely to be the reason.
But psychology is not the only case. Physiology also matters. The excitement caused by winning a reward in a casino game and the risky sports partially depends on genetics and brain chemistry.
Genetics is one of the main factors. The key gene here is DRD4. It is believed to be responsible for dopamine receptor development and distribution in our brain. Genetics is a complex science and it is hard to make 100% true assertions. But a sort of approval comes from numerous surveys and DNA tests of sportsmen.
Scientists revealed that risk-takers share the very similar combination of DRD4 genes. Therefore, we can say that love for dangerous sports is genetically predetermined. The same thing applies to pathological gambling.
The studies revealed that up to 20% of compulsive gamblers have relatives with the same problem. This means the casino addiction is inherited. This factor plays a huge role: from 35% to 55% of the addiction development chances.
When we feel good, our brain produces happiness hormones (serotonin, dopamine, endorphin, and oxytocin). If an individual gets something pleasant all the time, it requires more and more impressions and excitement to release the satisfying quantity of the hormones.
In biology, this is called “habituation” meaning the weakening of the reaction in response to continuous stimulation.
People putting themselves in dangerous situations all the time were revealed to have an insufficient release of dopamine. The DRD4 gene determines the affinity of the receptors to the hormone. People with lower affinity are likely to become addicted.
The same thing touches adrenaline, a trigger of strong emotions. And the obsessed people become saturated with the hormones when they, for instance, jump with a parachute or drive a rally car at high speed or make sakes at a casino. This is the only way for them to feel pleasure.
Ordinary life does not bring the same amount of delight and satisfaction.
Major Signs of Being Obsessive about Risk and Casino Games
How to determine the risk addiction? Here are the signs:
- You feel depressed when you do not do your sport even for a short period of time. You cannot imagine your life without it.
- You organize your daily routine around your training and the hobby. This applies only to non-professionals, who do not make money with snowboarding/mountain biking/skiing/surfing/any other risky activity.
- You spend too much money and time on your hobby, and you cannot notice it. For instance, you would go skiing rather than spend time with your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend.
- Your hobby harms your health conditions, but you still keep doing it.
Here are the signs of gambling addiction:
- You feel your life is dry, boring and senseless without casino activities.
- You end your betting session with more money spent than intended very frequently.
- You hide your hobby from your relatives.
- You experience financial troubles due to your betting.
- You spend too much time on slots, Roulette, cards, etc.