Understanding Gambling Addiction: Characteristics of Those at Risk


The recent news of Ippei Mizuhara, former interpreter for baseball player Shohei Ohtani, and his struggle with gambling addiction has shocked many people. Such news stories have a significant impact on society, leading many to question, “Why do people become addicted to gambling?” In this article, we will delve into the background of gambling addiction, the characteristics of those prone to addiction, and how to cope with this issue.


What is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction is a type of psychological disorder characterized by compulsive gambling behavior. Those with this addiction tend to continue gambling even when faced with financial, social, occupational, or familial problems. Like drug and alcohol addiction, this condition is a serious issue that requires treatment.

The Psychology Behind Gambling Addiction

The main psychological factors that contribute to gambling addiction include:

  • Thrill and Excitement: Gambling offers unpredictable outcomes and the accompanying exhilaration. The desire for this thrill can lead to repeated gambling behavior.
  • Escapism: Some people use gambling as a temporary escape from the stress and problems of daily life.
  • Social Pressure: When gambling is prevalent among friends or family, the pressure to participate can lead to the start of gambling habits.
  • Fixation on Winning: After experiencing a significant win, the desire to relive that sensation can develop, potentially leading to addiction.

Characteristics of Those Prone to Gambling Addiction

People who are more susceptible to gambling addiction often share the following characteristics:

  • Lack of Self-Control: Those with a lower ability to control their impulses are more likely to develop gambling addiction.
  • Mental Health Issues: People struggling with other mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety disorders, may attempt to alleviate these issues through gambling.
  • Family History: If someone in the family has a gambling addiction, the risk of inheriting the habit increases.

Coping Strategies

Recovering from gambling addiction is not easy, but improvement is possible through the following methods:

  • Seek Professional Help: Counseling and therapy can help address the underlying causes of gambling addiction.
  • Join Support Groups: Sharing experiences and empathizing with others facing similar challenges can be a significant aid in recovery.
  • Find Alternative Activities: Discovering hobbies or activities that can replace gambling can help reduce the urge to gamble.

While gambling addiction can have severe consequences on an individual’s life, it is possible to overcome this problem with proper support and treatment. The key is not to suffer alone but to seek help from professionals and support groups.