I’m Having Gambling Urges:
Should I Be Worried

When you gamble, it can affect your brain and your body.

Feeling the need, or urge, to gamble can happen to anyone.

Common signs of an urge are:

  • Thinking a lot about gambling or winning
  • Feeling like you can’t sit still
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Bodily responses like sweating and rapid heartbeat
  • Irritability

Urges can range from mild to very strong. They can be so strong that they become uncomfortable.

Why Do Urges Happen?

Urges can happen for many reasons. Here are a few:

  • The sights, sounds and sensations of gambling can grab your attention (e.g., when you see a gambling ad or when you get paid).
  • When you are stressed, gambling might feel like a relief and a distraction.

Urges can happen for no reason at all, such as when you wake up and want to gamble.

There are many parts of the brain involved in gambling urges. When urges happen, they can feel like powerful, full body experiences. Urges hold your attention hostage and it can be hard to put on the brakes.

Is Willpower Enough?

Willpower alone is not always enough to deal with gambling urges. This is because, when urges are very strong, other options may not come to mind. And, if you are in the tempting gambling environment, it can be harder to stop.

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