A gambling addiction is not something that is unheard of. The term draws to mind images of a disheveled, red-eyed person nervously going back and forth between a bank machine and a blackjack table, sorrowfully losing their kid’s college money to a casino. However, this is not the only face of a gambling addiction. Gambling, by definition, is deliberately taking a risk in hopes of a desired result; something that creates an ample amount of dopamine (the chemical that tells us we are having fun) within the brains of certain types of people. For the stereotypical addict, a slot machine or card table is enough of a draw. For a white collar addict, much larger scale financial investments are required.
The stigma of an addict as a broken person remains in our culture even as psychology identifies that some of the most successful personality types are prone to addiction. When people cannot stop themselves from pulling the handle of a slot machine, they are labeled addicts. When a wealthy man cannot take his attention away from the stock market rising and falling, he is labeled as a smart investor. In fact, there are many avenues for a gambling addiction to rear its head among the wealthy: getting thrills from risky business mergers, addictively flipping houses, obsessively trading stocks and so on. Any risk taking behavior that consumes a person is a type of gambling or adrenaline addiction and should be addressed for what it is.
Addiction is identified by certain signs and symptoms that indicate an unhealthy immersion into an activity or substance. A life of balance is healthy where as a life of obsession and addiction is unhealthy. If you believe that you or someone you care about is addicted to gambling, despite their outwardly successful appearance, reach out for help to an addiction counselor or an addiction treatment facility.