What makes you vulnerable to a gambling addiction? | Maia Szalavitz

What makes you vulnerable to a gambling addiction? | Maia Szalavitz


Addiction is: compulsive behavior despite
negative consequences.
And it’s really important to start by defining
addiction because for a long time we really
defined it very poorly.
We used to think that addiction was “needing
a substance to function”.
And what that resulted in was that cocaine
was “not addictive” because cocaine does
not produce physical withdrawal that is noticeable.
You may be cranky and irritable and crave
cocaine, but you won’t be puking and shaking
and have the classic symptoms that you would
see with alcohol or heroin withdrawal.
So cocaine wasn’t addictive.
Then crack came, and we realized that defining
addiction in that way not only harms people
by telling them that cocaine is not addictive,
it also harmed pain patients because people
who take opioids daily for pain will develop
physical dependence, but they are not addicted
unless they have compulsive behavior despite
negative consequences.
To me, non-drug addictions are really, really
interesting because some people have argued
that drugs are addictive because they change
the brain and that addiction results from
unique pathology related to the particular
chemicals of the drugs.
It is certainly the case that the chemistry
matters, but addiction can occur completely
without any external chemicals.
And the reason that that happens is that addiction
is not simply exposure to a substance, addiction
is a pattern of behavior, and certain patterns
of experience are inherently addictive.
And gambling is a good example of this because
what gambling does is it gives you intermittent
reinforcement.
And so every unpredictable amount of times,
you win.
And this is a puzzle to our pattern-seeking
brains, and we keep thinking we’re going to
find a pattern and it’s going to sort out
and we’re going to understand it, and we’re
going to get rich.
Or we find that sort of the constant immersion
in these ideas that allow you to escape: “Well
I’ve got to do—this is going to soothe you
and allow you to escape from your life,”
and stuff like this.
I think gambling is also really interesting
because we’ve had an enormous explosion in
the availability of gambling, but we have
not had an enormous explosion of gambling
addictions.

And again, this is because the population
rate— there’s only a certain percent of
people who will be vulnerable.
Now, you can make more of those people by
traumatizing them and taking away their economic
ways of living, but you can’t create them
by providing more substances or more addictive
opportunities.

43 thoughts on “What makes you vulnerable to a gambling addiction? | Maia Szalavitz”

  1. The video is pretty interesting, but it does not answer the question in the title. It just says that some people are vulnerable to a gambling addiction, but does not answer what makes someone vulnerable.

  2. There is nothing wrong with risk taking as long as there is a good chance of return. Any casino or lottery has the odds in their favor. Many people go broke and even bankrupt on wishful thinking. You have a better chance buying stock in Enron than buying lottery ticket

  3. Behavioral addictions may not be addictions to external substances, but can’t the argument be made that it’s addiction to dopamine?

  4. Not watched the video but, growing up with EA pushing loot boxes like crazy and the mobile gaming market already full to the brim of greedy, predatory business tactics. Making it all seem normal from the age they first engage with games on mobile or console/PC ought to do it.

  5. Just a public FYI: Stay far away from the drug Abilify.
    Not only can it give you permanent Tardive Dyskinesia (usually in combo with another drug) but it can also make you more susceptible to addiction behaviors, e.g. gambling.

  6. Redefining addiction as a "pattern of behavior" outside any context of physical chemical dependency is such bullshit. So someone who shows up for work every day and never craves alcohol (no chemical dependency), but drinks 4-5 times a week is in the same category as a guy who can't start his day until he downs a mickey of gin? GTFO.

    It's the same nonsense as redefining violent rape as 'sexual assault' or criticism of any non white-male group as 'racist.' It's a way to exploit language for political gain, often for the purposes of social engineering.

  7. This is why the Lootbox Gambling in Online Video Games must absolutely be regulated. Especially when and where children are exposed to them.

  8. I really liked this definition of addiction, made easy and simple.👍
    Too bad the video is however so short and not very deep on the subject :/👎

  9. Those video links really should not appear until after the person is finished speaking. Make the outro longer if you need to, but stop obscuring the people's faces in the last few sentences.

  10. I think the intermittent rewards distort the player's judgment. If you always lost, you wouldn't play. If you always win, it isn't gambling.

  11. It's very simple. God has put into man's heart to be a winner, to be successful. Games including gambling (gambling more so since it adds money) gives you an artificial form of success while God wants us to be successful spiritually which is the greater reality. These are things that money can't buy so you go into a endless loop of trying to obtain more money ( or win the Super Bowl ring in NFL, etc. ) want the satisfaction that only God can fill. The problem is in the end you still have this emptiness inside even after you win. Jesus said what profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul.

    Since spiritual things are often something money can't buy the world for the most part ignore them and focus totally on materialism , that which they can sell you. We are continuously bombard from our youth with ads (online, TV, on the highway,etc.) claiming this and that product is what you need to be satisfied so we buy more stuff.

  12. Irrational optimists could become gambling addicts? A rational pessimist might estimate the odds of "winning" (e.g. chances of winning has to be small for casinos to make money), and think pessimistically (e.g. I will never "win", like most people never win), and not become gambling addicts.

    There is pleasure and thrill in gambling. I think people are addicted to the possibility and pleasure of winning big.

    I know of a person who is addicted to gambling on horse racing. He believes that he has the skills to figure out which horse will win, based on how horses ran pre-race. He lost a lot of money.

    I think some people think they somehow figured out how it works, and think they could beat the system and win, unlike other people who have not figured it out, when reality is that that is not true.

  13. Any type of psychological trauma that a human isn’t aware of and tries to compensate – or a personality trait that is very receptive towards dopamine hits. Most free to play games under this regard should be banned from being sold to kids via app stores – it’s absolutely insane this is still allowed in 2018.

  14. Wikipedia sais: "Compulsive behavior is defined at performing an act persistently and repetitively without it necessarily leading to an actual reward or pleasure"

    And since addiction is often something that DOES give an individual pleasure, your definition is wrong (again, according to wikipedia)

    "Addiction" is a difficult term, because when your physically addicted, you have been addicted for quite a time, but when you use something regularly, you're not per se addicted (e.g. showering, eating pizza). Somewhere in between is where the addiction starts. It has something to do with habits, the tendency to physical addiction and limitations in your everyday business because of it I guess

  15. Addiction being redefined is bullshit imo. It should stick to being an external substance altering your internal make up or negatively affecting your body.

    When you change it to include behavior, you make it redundant with "compulsion".

    Let's be honest, people changed it to addiction because they know addiction has a bigger negative connotation than compulsion and so it's easier to get policy or attack people that do such a behavior because it's now an "addiction" than a compulsion.

  16. This is what bothers me about Big Think sometimes. They make a title "What makes you vulnerable to a gambling addiction?" and they don't even really answer that question. I came solely for the purpose of hearing the answer to that question and didn't receive it, which just makes me feel like I wasted my time. I don't think Big Think is trying to use clickbait on purpose, but it's really important these titles are accurate for the credibility of the channel

  17. trading is a better substitute to gambling, i used to be a terrible gambler but since i started trading with an expert trader i have been making good profits.

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