Recovery From Addiction Through Basic Mindfulness

Introduction

Currently, there is no clear consensus among health professionals in precisely defining addiction. Historically, it has been defined narrowly only in relation to psychoactive substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

Increasingly in recent years, however, many dysfunctional behavioral patterns that are not specifically substance-based are viewed by many professionals also as “addictions.” Some common examples are addictions to: gambling, food, sex, pornography, computers, video games, watching TV, dieting, internet use, work, exercise, shopping, cutting/burning oneself, etc.

A common unifying theme with the victims of all of these disorders is how powerfully and repetitively they are internally driven to engage in the particular activity that defines their addiction.

There is, moreover, growing evidence from neuroscience research that the neurophysiology of ALL addictive disorders, whether substance-based or behavioral, is very similar in many ways. Endorphins (or endogenous morphine), for example, as well as key transmitter substances such as dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin are common mediating factors in all of these disorders.

The prevalence of these addictions in the modern world is staggeringly high. In the U.S. alone 15.1 million people are addicted to alcohol, 4 million to drugs, and over 20% of the population is still addicted to tobacco.

Although there is no reliable way to estimate the total prevalence of all the behavioral addictions, there is abundant evidence that they are extremely common. As a matter of fact, there are probably very few people alive today who are not subject to some form of addictive behavior.

In this regard, answering the following question with complete honesty will help you determine if you may be one of them: Do I ever feel driven to engage in any form of behavior that I personally regard as self-defeating or harmful and about which I later feel guilt, shame, embarrassment and/or remorse to some degree?

A New Way to Understand Addictions

The following formulation, although grossly oversimplified in many ways, is intended to help provide an initial rough framework for understanding how Basic Mindfulness offers a highly effective way to deconstruct the brain/mind formations that underlie all addictive behaviors.

Like all other creatures on this planet, humans universally tend to seek pleasure and to avoid or escape from pain. Although these two extremely strong genetic instincts have been and continue to be essential to survival, they are also the extremely fertile common ground in which all addictive behaviors become strongly rooted and sustained.

The basic habit patterns that comprise the core of these addictions start developing out of these intrinsic propensities in a very natural and lawful way even before we are born and continue to proliferate from that point onward.

The twin principles that govern their natural initial development can be stated quite simply, although they progressively evolve into highly complex and subtle brain/mind processes that are much more challenging to understand.

Principle #1: Whenever we do anything that is followed by an increase in subjective pleasure or satisfaction, the probability that we will do it again increases to some degree. In general, the probability of recurrence of such a behavior is proportional to the degree of pleasure/satisfaction experienced.

Each subsequent repetition of this particular sequence further increases the probability of its future recurrence or its “habit strength.” As it continues to develop, it will tend to become increasingly streamlined or “automatic,” requiring progressively less conscious awareness and/or intentionality for its occurrence. An automatic habit pattern that has developed primarily in this way will be referred to here as a pleasure-seeking reaction.

Principle #2: Whenever we do anything that is followed by a decrease in subjective physical/emotional pain, discomfort or dissatisfaction, the probability that we will do it again also increases slightly. Again, this increment in the probability of recurrence is generally proportional to the degree of reduction in subjective pain/dissatisfaction that is experienced.

Each subsequent repetition of this sequence similarly increases the probability of its future recurrence or its “habit strength.” As this happens, it will also become progressively more automatic as described above. This type of automatic habit pattern will be referred to here as a terminating reaction.

As used above, the words, “do anything,” refer to external behaviors as well as to their internal representations -i.e., the emotional feelings, mental imagery and/or self-talk to which they give rise. Typically, these internal representations are strongly linked to the external behavioral reactions from which they are derived and thus become a key part of the overall reactive pattern. Very commonly, they also play an important part in activating the external behavioral part of the reaction.

For example, thinking about/imaging a piece of chocolate cake in the refrigerator will tend to activate the corresponding pleasure-seeking reaction of actually eating it. Similarly, if you have a headache, your terminating reaction of taking an aspirin is highly likely to be preceded by thinking, for example, “I need an aspirin,” and/or an image of taking one and getting relief.

As nearly everyone knows from much personal experience, reliving a pleasure-seeking reaction in imagery tends to activate–at least to some degree-subtle feelings of pleasure; conversely, reliving a terminating reaction in imagery similarly tends to activate subtle feelings of getting relief from pain/discomfort. The same is true of anticipatory imagery and/or engaging in internal self-talk about future occurrences of pleasure or pain.

For example, someone experiencing a lot of stress at work may repeatedly imagine what she is going to do when the weekend comes and/or think repetitiously, “I can hardly wait to….” Both of these internal processes can be understood as subtle, garden-variety internal terminating reactions. It’s very important to understand that they also commonly occur very automatically, without any conscious awareness.

Within this framework, then, an addictive behavior can be defined as any pleasure-seeking reaction, terminating reaction, or a combination of both that is significantly harmful to oneself and/or others and that has become sufficiently strong and automatic that it effectively overrides-at least on some occasions– one’s intentionally conscious efforts to suppress or control it.

By this definition, all addictions cause pain-physical and/or emotional; and since pain tends to activate automatic terminating reactions, this sets up a self-perpetuating process or “vicious circle.”

Consider, for example, an alcoholic who chronically worries about how to pay his bills and who has had a highly stressful week at work. Predictably, this triggers a strong terminating reaction of stopping for “happy hour” at his favorite bar, where he ends up getting drunk, spending a large part of his paycheck, and staying until the bar closes.

His wife, expecting him to come home to participate in a special birthday celebration for one of their children, becomes very emotionally upset, as do all of the children. They are traumatized further by the loud argument that ensues between their parents after he finally gets home.

When he wakes up the next morning, he has a terrible hangover and is filled with intense guilt, shame, and self-loathing about what he has done. His baseline level of emotional pain, which he temporarily terminated through ingesting a large amount of alcohol, has now increased tremendously-far above its original high base level.

Given this level of pain, it is extremely likely that the same terminating reaction will be quickly reactivated, setting off another addictive round in this tragically vicious circle.

How Basic Mindfulness Fosters Recovery from Addiction

Mindfulness meditation was originally discovered in India over 25 centuries ago by a young prince named Siddhartha Gautama, who later became known as the Buddha. He made this discovery after five years of intensively searching for an effective way to end suffering. He subsequently spent 40 years teaching this method to his many followers. Since then it has been practiced ardently by hundreds of millions of people-mainly in Asian countries.

Since it was successfully introduced into Western countries a few short decades ago, it has quickly merged into the cultural mainstream-especially in areas such as psychology, medicine, education, and generalized personal development. At this point, it has also become a very hot topic in Neuroscience research.

A Definition of Basic Mindfulness

Basic Mindfulness, as I will refer to it here, consists of three powerful interrelated mental skills:

1) Concentration power;

2) sensory clarity; and

3) equanimity.

With adequate guidance and through disciplined practice, this skill set can be developed to a very high degree by nearly anyone. Once acquired, it can be applied effectively to every area of one’s life.

In particular, it is a means second to none for enhancing conscious awareness and thus become liberated from a wide array of highly automatic and unskillful habit patterns-which, very importantly, includes all addictions. Likewise, it provides a way to enjoy all of life’s pleasures much more fully, while also offering a very powerful means of coping with all forms of physical and mental pain.

Here are brief definitions of the three sub-skills of Basic Mindfulness:

Concentration power is defined simply as the ability to attend selectively and consistently to whatever you consider as relevant at any given time.

Sensory clarity consists in being consciously aware of, and perceiving clearly, all of the endlessly changing external and internal sensory events to which we are subject continuously.

Very importantly, this includes the subtle internal mental states mentioned previously that are incorporated into pleasure-seeking and terminating reactions. These transient states typically occur very automatically and with little or no conscious awareness.

Without mindfulness training, an average person will not perceive them clearly for what they are, but rather will typically experience them as a powerful and highly compelling urge to behave addictively in order to get relief. As a result, then, they commonly give rise to highly automatic and unskillful behavioral reactions.

These internal states fall into three basic categories:

1) Emotional feelings in the body;

2) mental imagery; and

3) verbal thinking

Equanimity entails letting go of negative judgments about what you are experiencing and consciously replacing them with an attitude of loving acceptance and gentle matter-of-factness. Effectively, then, it allows our internal mental processes to flow without resistance or interference.

Very importantly, equanimity does NOT in any way imply apathy. Actually, in fact, it is the opposite of apathy in that it frees up internal energy to respond more fully and consciously to external situations.

It is also the opposite of suppression in that it entails radical permission to feel. With regard to expressing feelings externally, however, it empowers one to choose skillfully what is most appropriate to her/his particular life situation.

How Basic Mindfulness Helps in Recovery from Addictions

In keeping with the introductory nature of this article, the following brief description is intended to convey only an initial understanding of the formal practice of Basic Mindfulness and how it can help in recovery from addictions. What it highlights, however, will hopefully help readers recognize some of its unique potential in this regard. (Much more comprehensive information about this approach is provided through my blog, mentioned below.)

The formal practice of Basic Mindfulness is most commonly carried out with eyes gently closed while seated in an upright, but relaxed, posture.

The duration of a typical mindfulness practice session ranges from 10 to 45 minutes. After a few weeks of basic training, more extended periods of practice can accelerate one’s progress greatly. This is commonly carried out in “retreat” settings that are specifically set up to support this type of more intense practice for periods ranging from a few consecutive hours up to several days, or even weeks.

The initial phase of practice emphasizes concentration power, which is of key importance in subsequently developing both sensory clarity and equanimity.

Concentration power then functions much like an internal microscope, allowing one to become clearly and continuously aware of all external and internal sensory events-very importantly, including emotional feeling, mental images, and verbal self-talk.

As an aid to this continuous, detailed observation, the meditator formally “notes” these sensory states with a simple sub-vocal label (e.g., “feel,” “image,” “talk,” etc.). In doing so, s/he also “embraces” all of them lovingly and equally with deep equanimity-that is, with complete acceptance and non-reactivity.

This state of equanimity arises very naturally as a result of applying concentration and includes, very importantly, deep body-mind relaxation. As such, it is intrinsically comforting and satisfying and, for people who are addicted, it often gives rise to the dramatic insight that what they have been compulsively seeking through external addictive objects is actually abundantly available from within.

Through this highly focused and non-reactive observational process, internal states that were previously experienced as being vaguely global, static and overpowering are clearly re-perceived as nothing other than an impersonal and impermanent flow of subtle mental events. Shinzen Young, who is a master teacher of Basic Mindfulness, sometimes refers to this highly empowering process of fine-grained perception as a “divide and conquer” strategy.

In the traditional practice of mindfulness, this simple process of systematically bringing clear, highly discriminating awareness and equanimity to internal sensory states that have been previously out of awareness has been found to be powerfully “purifying.” That is, it gradually-or sometimes quite suddenly and dramatically-reduces or eliminates completely the potential of these internal states to activate automatic unskillful reactions.

This application of Basic Mindfulness, then, provides a powerful means of recovery from all forms of addiction. Interestingly in this regard, it effectively utilizes pure awareness as a “higher power” instead of relying on ego-based “will power,” which has repeatedly proven to be highly ineffective in achieving lasting recovery.

Noah Levine, author of the book, Dharma Punx, is an outstanding exemplar of someone who has made a highly impressive recovery from severe drug addiction through the intensive practice of mindfulness. For more in-depth information and guidance in applying mindfulness to recovery from addiction, please visit my blog, “Wise Ways to Happiness.”

Article 81 Guardianships in New York

Introduction to Article 81

Guardianship[1] is the court proceeding by which one person (the guardian) is appointed to make decisions for another person (the ward) regarding personal, medical, and/or financial matters. In New York, the governing law is Article 81 of the New York Mental Hygiene Law (MHL), entitled “Proceedings for the Appointment of a Guardian for Personal Needs or Property Management”, which went into effect April 1, 1993. It provides a mechanism[2] for the court to assist a person to meet his or her personal and/or financial needs, while at the same time limiting such assistance to the least intrusive means necessary.

The standard for appointment of a guardian under the statute focuses on the decision-making capacity and functional limitations of the person for whom the guardian is sought — not any particular mental or physical medical condition. MHL § 81.02. In fact, New York courts have extended the scope of Article 81 beyond mental conditions such as dementia, mental illness, or mental impairment, to include other forms of impairment, such as blindness and other physical infirmity, drug or alcohol problems, and even gambling addiction.

Common scenarios where a guardianship can help

The following are situations where New York courts have appointed a guardian:

1. Where people seek to make decisions for their aging parent;

2. Where parents seek to make financial and personal decisions for their adult special needs or disabled child;

3. Where a guardian is needed to make decisions for someone who is unable to make responsible decisions because of cognitive impairment;

4. Where emergency medical decisions must be made for an incapacitated patient who does not have advance directives in place;

5. Where an elder is being unlawfully detained by a nursing home or other institution against his or her will, or is being abused or exploited, and emergency powers need to be given to a temporary guardian to act right away.

In one interesting example, a woman had recently won a great deal of money in the lottery and found that she could not help giving her money away to anyone who had a hard-luck story. For instance, she was talking to a friend that said she could really use a new car, so the woman bought her a new car. Although she could not resist this tendency, still the woman realized she needed help controlling the money she had just won.

This story highlights the difference between someone who is an Alleged Incapacitated Person (AIP), as opposed to a Person in Need of Guardian (PING). A person who is in a coma or otherwise allegedly incapacitated would be considered an AIP. Here, the woman who won the lottery was considered a PING — that is, a person who is not incapacitated per se, but who nonetheless needs a guardian. She could actually self-petition to ask the court for the appointment of a property guardian (i.e., someone to make financial decisions only, and not personal or medical decisions) narrowly tailored to control her access to and use of the lottery proceeds.

The “Nuts-and-Bolts” of a Typical Proceeding

A guardianship proceeding begins with the filing of a petition which contains the required pertinent information about the proposed ward (i.e., the person for whom the guardian is sought), his or her assets and income, the proposed ward’s family members and others who are entitled to notice of the proceeding, whether there is a Will and other advance directives, and other information about the circumstances. MHL §81.08.

The specific powers sought are set forth in considerable detail. In the event that this is an emergency, or some other circumstances warrant having immediate intervention, an Order to Show Cause asking for the appointment of a temporary guardian with particular immediate powers would be included. MHL §81.23.

A good example of this would be where an immediate decision has to be made as to whether or not surgery or some other urgent medical procedure should be performed on a comatose patient where no health care proxy is in place. This would be particularly true where the family members disagree on how to proceed. The guardianship court would appoint a temporary or special guardian who would investigate, talk to the doctors, and report to the court with a recommendation.

While it would appear to the layperson that the test for an Article 81 guardianship would require a medical diagnosis, actually the test is a functional one: The court must determine (1) if the person has functional limitations, and (2) whether he or she can understand the nature and consequences of those limitations, and (3) whether it is likely that the person will suffer harm if a guardian is not appointed. In other words, the observation of erratic or questionable behavior is more to the point in these proceedings than a medical diagnosis.

The court will often appoint a Court Evaluator to act as the “eyes and ears of the court” — to investigate the circumstances, interview people, and report to the court. MHL §81.09.

The matter proceeds to a hearing at which testimony is taken. MHL §81.11. These proceedings can also be contested, with family members disagreeing as to who should be the guardian and what steps should actually be taken. The person for whom the guardianship is brought can even object to the appointment of a guardian, and can be represented by an attorney (court-appointed or of their own choosing). MHL §81.10.

Seeking The Least Restrictive Means

In enacting Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law, the intent of the legislature was to create a means of protecting individuals using the least restrictive means possible. In addition, the law gives the court the authority to tailor a guardianship to the ward’s needs. Article 81 requires the court to consider alternatives to the appointment of a guardian, such as visiting nurses, home health aides, adult day care, and trusts, and allows the court to fashion remedies that may or may not include appointment of a guardian. See, e.g. MHL §81.01.

Conclusion

Article 81 is a versatile remedy that can provide useful or even life-saving solutions to a wide variety of situations. Because it is a complex proceeding with serious implications, and it requires a court hearing, it is imperative for anyone considering a guardianship to consult with an experienced elder law attorney knowledgeable in this area of the law.

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[1] In some states, the proceeding is called conservatorship.

[2] In addition to Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law, which has arguably the broadest application and flexibility in such matters, other mechanisms exist. The main example is Article 17-A of the Surrogates Court Procedure Act. Originally designed for mentally retarded individuals who were newly discharged from mental institutions and needed a safety net, the law was later amended to include developmentally disabled individuals, and specifically those with cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, traumatic head injury and other neurological disorders. The disability must have originated before the age of 22 (except that no such age of origination applies to traumatic head injury). By contrast with Article 81, Article 17-A expressly requires that the mental retardation or developmental disability must be medically certified. Also, in the more extreme cases where a person may be a danger of harm to himself or others, a proceeding exists under Article 9 of the Mental Hygiene Law for involuntary commitment of the individual.

The Positive and Negative Effects of Addictions

Every individual has their own addiction whether it is an addiction over food and drinks, shopping, or even on prohibited drugs. Some people find it helpful for them to be addicted over something as the addiction helps in achieving their self-esteem, building self-confidence, and a way to relax their nerves. Some also get addicted over something because it is through their addiction wherein they could release their stress all out. The problem for them is, when they are hindered on doing their addiction, their anxiety level increases and thus causing them to become violent.

Addiction is classified into two, positive and negative addiction. A positive addiction is an addiction that is beneficial to oneself. Avery common example of positive addiction is exercise, living a healthy lifestyle and doing humanitarian acts. While for the negative addiction, it is an addiction wherein it is detrimental to the self such as shopping, taking drugs, compulsive eating, gambling, excessive drinking and a lot more. These forms of habits not only destroy the body but it also destroys the self.

In women, their most common form of addiction is shopping. Shopping over shoes, clothes and bags is a delight for women. For them, they find shopping as a form of stress reliever, an outlet of their anger and being in a depressing situation. The negative thing about shopping though is that some of the clothes or shoes or bags and whatever they shop for will no longer be used since it is no longer the fad or no longer fits them leading to putting bulk in the closet.

Another very common form of addiction that is present in both men and women is being an excessive drinker of alcoholic beverages. Occasionally drinking is not bad, it only becomes detrimental when it becomes a habit or is being practiced every single day. Many individuals love to drink alcoholic beverages because it is through drinking that they could release their hidden emotions. Some drink for the purpose of escaping reality and some to forget their problems. Whenever someone gets drunk, there is a feeling of euphoria and numbness all over the body that even the best stun gun will not work on him when you stun him. The stun gun effects are useless when you use them on individuals under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Gambling when not controlled can become an addiction. Again, people gamble for entertainment purposes. Gambling becomes a problem when an individual seems to have no control and just keeps on wasting money on games of luck and chances. It is good to engage in activities like this but always bear in mind that once is enough if you want to spare money for the future of your family and yourself.

Compulsive eating and smoking are also addictions by many individuals almost in all parts of the world. Like any other forms of addiction, it also releases stress and anxiety and tends to give an individual pleasure. It is through eating wherein depressed people can pour out all their emotions either grief or anger and when not overcome, will become a habit. Smoking is probably one of the habits that are hard to break especially for those chain smokers. The only way to fully stay away from this is to slowly detach the self from smoking and learning to discipline the self.

We all just need to control ourselves in order for us not to become addicted over something. All we need is proper discipline and always bear in mind that there are a lot of good addictions in the world that will not harm our body and will provide us with a better future.

Casino Gambling Precautions

Doubtless casino gambling is fun, but there are precautions that every player must follow (FYI: this includes you). These precautions are necessary whether you’re in your bathrobe playing online or in a suit and dealing with actual croupiers. These precautions are meant to keep you safe and save some moolah in your pocket. Casino gambling is entertainment; it’s meant for leisure and enjoyment – but it’s not reason enough to let go of your senses and act stupid.

Do your research about the casino – actual or online – and learn about the offered bonuses, cashouts, and details about the games. Remember to do this BEFORE, not after, to save you from inconvenience. Casino gambling is about winning money. You know, personal jet planes, SUVs, and 20 mansions for your dog. But do not get carried away by thoughts of much moolah. Set a limit to your betting and stick with it. Keep a budget for losses and winnings. It’s a good idea to put a ceiling on your expected winnings to save you from being unrealistic and the temptation of betting more. Before you go gambling, tell yourself that you will leave after you lost $50 in five straight games and do it. Likewise, set a winning goal, say $200. When you achieved that amount, leave. It’s better to leave when you’re ahead; think of it as luck preservation. Dealers are known to overturn your luck if they noticed that you’re winning too much.

Speaking of luck preservation, you have more chances of preserving your luck by keeping low profile. Avoid drawing attention to yourself whether you’re losing or winning. Don’t jump and shout when you win, for starters. Don’t sulk and whine or act demented when you’re losing, either. Instead of attracting praise, you’re more likely to attract negative reactions. The world of casino gambling, despite the bright lights, exploits the darkest of human souls. Croupiers and dealers will gang up on you with encouraging words to make you bet more and before you know it, you lost the $1000 you won and more. If you are on a losing streak, you look like prey to the other casino players. The best way for preys to survive is camouflage – act ordinary and blend with the crowd even if you just won the jackpot. If you can’t resist, go home and boast to your wife – it will teach you a good example of what I’m saying.

This last precaution applies only to actual casino gambling. Service is a big part of casinos. Unfortunately for the ushers, dealers, and other service persons, they do not earn as much as the casinos. In fact, they earn just a little over the minimum wage. So tipping them will most likely get you somewhere. The ushers can show you the best tables and fill you in about the latest happenings in the casino. Before you sit at a table, you’re sure to be prepared with the who’s who of the night (i.e. who’s winning, who’s losing, etc.). Dealers are your best friends when you tip them. They’ll tell you when things are looking bad for you so you’ll know what to do. Dealers are known to influence game outcomes in games like roulette. Treat them right and you might just come home with the biggest roulette winnings ever.

Casino gambling, with the proper precautions is probably the best way to have fun with cash. But if you think that you’re gambling too much, or more than you used to, you’re probably right. Addiction with casino gambling is not uncommon. Check yourself for symptoms as soon as you suspect it or somebody brings his suspicions to your attention. Other people see what you can’t. Being addicted to gambling takes the fun out of the game, so take action as early as you can.

The Housewife’s Favourite Game

Playing blackjack online is becoming the favourite pastime of housewives everywhere. Why is blackjack becoming so extremely popular? Well, gambling online allows housewives to play their favourite game right from the comfort of their own homes without the need to travel or endure the chaotic scene that brick and mortar casinos possess. Plus, there is no need to get all dressed up to engage in online gambling and there are no worries that a man might hassle you when all you want to do is enjoy the game. If you are more interested in gambling than you are in the dating scene, then gambling online might be just the kind of pastime for you. It’s also fantastic fun!

Cara Thurston, a housewife fond of online gaming entertainment, explains why she loves online gambling : “When I gamble online I have the freedom to do what I want to do and I don’t have other players judging me because I am a woman. When I play online blackjack, my identity remains anonymous for the most part and I can just enjoy the game.”

Gambling online provides housewives like Cara the opportunity to spend their leisure time the way they want to–relaxing and enjoying a challenging game of blackjack or any of the other games offered at online casinos.

When gambling online you will find that you can either play the game of your choice for free or you can play for real money and prizes. Of course, where you choose to gamble online will determine whether or not cash and prizes are offered. There are many websites offering free gambling but if you want to get in on real money action you will need to visit one or more online casinos to begin playing for real money.

Typically, when gambling online for real money, you will find that you will be required to become a registered member at the online casino of your choosing. However, what is particularly nice about becoming a member at an online casino is that you will be offered signup bonuses for becoming a member. Signup bonuses are a percentage of the initial deposit you place in an account when you first signup at an online casino to begin gambling for money. Such a bonus can be used to place wagers on blackjack, poker, roulette and more.

Many online casinos offer you, as a new member, the opportunity to play several blackjack variants. Blackjack variants include Vegas Strip Blackjack, Atlantic City Blackjack, Multi-Hand Atlantic City Blackjack, European Blackjack, Spanish Blackjack, Triple 7’s Blackjack, Bonus Blackjack, as well as others. Yet, blackjack is not the only game available and you will find fun at the slots, the roulette wheel and all the poker tables you can dream of when you gamble online.

You may be required to download special software to your computer so that you can get in on the gaming action. Typically the software applications that allow individuals to play games are easy to install and are free to you when you create an account. This software gives you the sense that you are really at the casino–that is, without all the hubbub and noise around you that you will typically find in a brick and mortar casino. If you are a housewife and you choose to gamble online you don’t have to worry about the typical problems associated with travel and travel costs. You can enjoy a simulated casino setting in a safe environment.

Are there any risks associated with gambling online? In fact, there are risks associated with any kind of gambling, whether it is online or off. The biggest risk that you face while gambling is losing a lot of money. Gambling is just that–a risk, it is important when you are gambling that you take care not to become over eager–don’t be willing to place just one more bet to get the big bucks. Anyone gambling should set a budget and stick to it. Once the money is gone it is gone and placing one more bet is only going to get you even deeper in the hole than the hand before. When you are gambling you can truly benefit when you know the right time to fold.

Gambling can become an addiction. Some people enjoy the high of winning and their mood will mirror that high, just as their mood will mirror the low they feel when they lose. In essence, when gambling becomes an obsession for you or when you begin to really rely on winning to feel good, a significant problem has begun and you will need to seek help for your gambling problem before it gets out of control. There is counselling available for anyone that has gambling problems and if you suspect that your gambling is an addiction, you should refrain from playing the game and seek out assistance for your problem immediately, before it becomes an all consuming and destructive issue. Make gambling fun and you will really enjoy the experience.

Why Gamblers Are Tempted to Risk More While Gambling

Introduction

Despite being on the losing spree, the people might gamble more with the hope that they will win the next game. Even the sweet memories of the past victories force the people to play more. A recent study has revealed this trend. The authors of this study have published the outcome of this study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. In this article, we would be looking at the interesting findings brought out by this interesting study.

Recent Study

The study found that people chose to go in for further plays when the scientists reminded or primed them of past winning outcomes. It has found that people were over 15% more likely to play more by selecting the risky option. The research team from the University for Warwick in Britain believe that memories of the people play a crucial role in making certain decisions. When the team interviewed people who are in the habit of gambling, they found that subtle cues about the past victories play a significant role in propelling them forward to gamble more. This is clearer in people who go for gambling in local casinos. The gamblers even place millions of dollars in cash on the table for the final showdown in some poker tournaments with the hope that they would win in the next game.

Hypothesis

The researchers had come with the hypothesis that memory of winning outcomes in the past forced the people go for more gambling in casinos and risk lots of money on the table. The results of the study more or less confirm the roles these cues play in forcing the people to play more, risking their money. In order to cross check the hypothesis, the researchers manipulated the memory of the participants for past winning outcomes with simple risky choice tasks. The researchers achieved this by asking the participants to select one of the two doors as part of a computer test.

Testing Technique

The authors of the study gave the participants the choice of four coloured doors to select from. Three of the doors always led to guaranteed outcomes (0, 40 or 80). On the other hand, the fourth door led to a risky 50/50 outcome that carried 20 or 60 points. Later in the study, the team members reminded the participants about their past winning or losing outcome based on the points that they got, depending upon the door they opened. When the team members told the participants about the points they had got, they tended to go towards the risky door more often.

Responsible Gaming and Addiction

Gaming is one of those fun activities that most Ugandans find appealing. This is especially true for online gaming and online casinos. The beauty is that gaming online is safe because the regulation bit has been taken care of the National Gaming Board Uganda which is a body corporate that was established to ensure responsible gaming in Uganda.

Despite the regulation that has been put in place, it is still your responsibility as a player to ensure that you play the right way and avoid any gambling issues that may arise. Many games have gotten addicted because they probably were not advised as to how best to play. Many have found themselves borrowing money to facilitate their gaming and losing jobs all because they do not exercise any form of restraint. The truth of the matter is that for you to reap anything out of gaming, you need to be extremely disciplined.

The commonest symptom of gambling is the inability to stop irrespective of how much money has been lost. Addicts are the gamers that you will find playing day or night and who often resort to pleading tactics when told to stop. They keep requesting for more time or one more game. Addiction is mostly intensified or fuelled by the use of substances like alcohol and drugs since these remove any inhibitions that one might have.

How to avoid the addiction – The Four Pointers

  1. Have a pre-set budget: Creating a budget will give you a discipline that you need while gaming. Given that people earn different incomes, it’s essential that you do not base your budget on that of others but rather create one that fits perfectly into your income. Remember that gaming money should not take priority over bills like rent, food and tuition. It should be taken from your supplementary budget after other essential expenses have been removed. Remember to stick to your budget and not divert from it irrespective of whether you are winning or losing. If you need to reinvest, rather invest with your winnings than with money that is not budgeted for.
  2. Do not accumulate unnecessary debts: Borrowing is not a good decision when it comes to gaming. Not only will it create unnecessary anxiety but will also put a lot of strain on your finances. Remember that gaming is not a necessity so if you have no money, you would rather postpone it than enter into debts.
  3. Follow a strict set of rules: Setting your personal rules will help you have a discipline when playing. Set a time frame within which to play so as to leave room for other activities. Also essential is that you do not raise the stakes when you lose. Count all losses as such as opposed to them being a ticket for further playing. It is also essential that you follow the rules that you have set and not deviate from them.
  4. Never rely on your luck: Luck is just odds and this might not guarantee a good gaming experience for you. It is important that you understand that at certain times you will win while other times you will lose. At some point you will hit a jackpot but this does not mean that you should continue playing thinking that it is your night. It is important that you have fun while playing and not take the game too seriously. So play for playing sake and have fun while at it.

The above are just a few pointers of how to avoid gambling. However, in the event that you find yourself an addict, there is still hope for you. You might need some professional help along the way and might even need to close your accounts for a while until you get things under control.

Disadvantages of Watching Pornography

In the olden days, the word ‘addiction’ was largely confined to either dependence on substance (addiction to drugs) or behavioral addiction (gambling). Addiction can be defined as the repetition of a habit which an individual does with his/her complete knowledge. In other words, they clearly know and understand that they have to leave the particular habit of either ingesting a substance or performing a specific action, but cannot refrain from doing the same. The habit may prove harmful in the long run as it might lead to compulsive use.

Pornography can be found in various forms such as books, postcards, photographs, drawing, animation, film, video (video games). Before two decades, if an individual has to watch porn, he has to rent out a video. Although growth of internet has brought many advantages, there are also few exceptions like porn, which any one can access by a single click.

As with all addictions, individuals of all ages share this vice of pornography, they usually start with soft porn. Similar to drugs, they will also need larger doses to make them feel high. They will start searching for more explicit porn content. Although no survey has been done to clarify the factor from small to high dosage, it cannot be ruled out that watching porn leads to negative effects in many cases such as:

Addicts feel isolate, spend large amount of time locked in their rooms or own world. Watching pornography individually separates them from social contact dissolving into a fantasy world far from reality. Pornographic addicted individuals may indulge in imagination with multiple partners by watching porn thus causing disillusionment in family lives.

Men, who are addicted, try to become dominant, introvert, deal with anxiety, and develop low self esteem. Porn makes the real universe and world boring leaving its viewers dissatisfied and less sensitive to the emotional feelings of everyday life. According to a survey, men exposed to large volume of pornography tend to be less responsible in their career and suffer from reasoning ability.

Men who view pornography in a very young age have been found to view women only as objects of desire than to have respect for them as human beings. They can also suffer from guilt, shame, failure of rejection or humiliation.

The best way to overcome the addiction is to become socially active. Isolation and loneliness are said to be the main contributing factors. Addicts who have been given proper professional guidance and assistance have overcome and conquered their habit of watching porn.

The Addictive Personality Part Two

Much has been written about genetic predisposition and its relationship to addictive personalities. Having an addict in the family does not guarantee that everyone in the family will become addicts. But many believe that hereditary factors can raise a person’s level of vulnerability to substance abuse or other addictions. That may explain why some gamble in moderation and others compulsively-why some can drink for enjoyment and others become alcoholics.

It does seem as if those with the genetic predisposition will engage in some type of excessive behavior but will not necessary choose the same stimuli they have been exposed to. Adult children of alcoholics may never drink but they may become addicted to gambling. Children of drug addicts may exercise excessively or be workaholics.

There is no single gene that determines a person’s susceptibility to addiction. Studies comparing identical and fraternal twins estimate that genetic factors account for 40 to 60 percent of the occurrence of the gene variation.

Researchers have discovered a number of genes that link to addiction through DNA testing. One gene causes dizziness and nausea from smoking and is more present in non-smokers than smokers. Alcoholism is rare in those who have two copies of the ALDH2 gene. Other genes have been linked to narcotic dependency.

Variants in certain genes have been shown to suppress dopamine signals in the brain. Those with these blunted receptors have the need to seek higher levels of stimulation to reach the same level of pleasure as those who don’t have the variants. DNA testing can offer vital clues in battling addiction but the use of it is very controversial. The concern is that some may use this information for discrimination purposes.

It comes down to the nature versus nurture argument. Environment and upbringing are believed to be equally important in shaping the personality. Our life circumstances and emotional experiences may have more influence than our genetic make-up does. Under this theory no matter our chemical make-up, we still have the ability to choose and control our actions.

There are factors that may indicate a higher risk of developing a serious addiction. People who have difficulty thinking about the long term consequences of their actions are more susceptible to developing an addiction. So are those who do everything in excess and/or to extremes, and those who habitually substitute one compulsion for another. For example, stressed out workaholics may come home at the end of the day and start drinking to help them relax. They may use cybersex because they don’t have time for real relationships. They may stress-eat.

Those with addictive personalities are most vulnerable during periods of heightened stress such as adolescence and times of transition. People who suffer from mental illnesses, emotional disorders, and personality disorders are highly prone to addiction as well. Without being aware that they have a condition, they may self-medicate to manage emotions using substances or behaviors to relieve whatever discomfort they may feel.

Nonconformists, non-achievers, and those with deviant personalities are also prime candidates for addiction. Many adult addicts report having been subjected to deprivation or overindulgence in their childhoods. Others report that they were negatively impacted by their parents’ constant, unpredictable fluctuation between over-praise and over-criticism.

Addictions are unmanageable, excessive, and repetitive. The addiction activity begins harmlessly with a pleasurable experience, but over time more and more of the activity is needed to achieve the same effect. People become dependent on the high they get and find it difficult to stop the behavior. If deprived of their fix they will find a substitute. If forced to stop the behavior they will suffer physical or psychological symptoms of withdrawal that compel them to resume the addiction. Over time they lose the ability to cope with life without the addictive stimuli.

People with addictions will deny that what they’re doing is detrimentally affecting them while work, family, and social relationships suffer and their health declines. Their desperation often lead them to take extremes in getting the fix, which ultimately creates financial and legal issues.

Addictions can be classified as hard or soft. Hard addictions, also known as substance addiction, are categorized by the rapid affect they have on many aspects of the person’s behavior as well as the effect they have on everyone around him or her. Abuse of alcohol, barbiturates, and narcotics are usually the source of this type of addiction. This is different than substance abusers who use from time to time. Substance addicts spend every waking moment finding ways to buy and use drugs or alcohol.

With soft addictions the abuser uses activities that are harmless to most people. The consequences of those behaviors are not immediately felt. Cigarette smoking and coffee drinking are two commonly known examples of soft addictions. It is much easier to hide soft addictions and cover up the behaviors that result from them. But soft-addictions have the propensity to lead to more serious addictions down the road.

Gambling is another common example of a soft addiction. Gamblers with addictive personalities go through three stages. In the first phase, also known as the winning phase, the person has control over his or her behavior. The second stage is known as the losing phase. In this phase the person begins gambling alone, gambling large sums of money, and borrowing cash to pay off mounting debt. The third phase is called the desperation phase. In this phase the gambler engages in more risky, sometimes illegal behavior. In desperation he or she may borrow money from non conventional sources. Depression and attempted suicide are common in the third phase of gambling.

Other examples of soft addictions are eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive over-eating. Though there are other factors that contribute to this type of behavior, it can develop into pathological behavior that is very similar to addiction. The anorexic fixates on the goal of losing weight. Once the person begins dieting he or she finds it very hard to stop. Those with bulimia are after the same goal as those who are anorexic, but the mode of operation is different. Instead of limiting their diet they binge on large amounts of food and then purge it before their bodies have the chance to digest it. Compulsive eaters are not concerned with weight loss or weight gain, though the disorder often results in obesity. They have a compulsive urge to eat, whether hungry or not.

Something as beneficial as exercising can become a preoccupation or addiction to those who are predisposed to having one. Running is the most prevalent; runners are known to get a runner’s high and can become dependent on it. This is attributed to mood-enhancing chemicals called endorphins that are released during exercise. An addiction occurs when the exercise activity is used as an escape or a coping mechanism. It’s a problem when it becomes so excessive that the body suffers injury, and when it negatively impacts relationships.

Compulsive buying falls under the category of soft addictions. Those who do it are addicted to the buzz it gives them. It has nothing to do with what they are buying, it is simply their drug. They buy only for the sake of buying without ever intending to use it. Those with this disorder often suffer from other disorders such as depression, mood swings, and anxiety. Buying gives them temporary relief, but after they do it they feel heightened anxiety and intense guilt. One study showed that twenty percent of compulsive buyers suffer from an eating disorder as well.

The two newest additions to the soft-addiction category are Internet abuse and cell phone abuse. They are more prevalent in younger generations, though there is a significant number of older people who develop these addictions as well.

Those who have an Internet addiction, also known as pathological Internet use, find they cannot control their usage of it. They may be drawn to online games, social networking sites, or other online sites, and will spend an excessive amount of time there. The use becomes an addiction when withdrawal symptoms such as mood changes are suffered when they are away from it.

Some people become addicted to cyber relationships. A problem occurs when these relationships are used to avoid face to face, interpersonal interactions. This addiction can lead to social, psychological, and work or school problems.

A recent study shows that those who are addicted to cell phone use display behaviors very similar to those with addictive personalities-low self-esteem, approval seeking, insecurity. Cell phones have become indispensable in our lives, but they can reinforce the tendency of over-attachment for those with addictive personalities.

http://randigfine.com/addictive-personalities/

Win the Lottery Guaranteed – Take Action Today!

To buy a ticket is a certain way to win the lottery guaranteed. A game of the odds such as the lottery responds to the ancient adage, ‘You have to be in it to win it’ is such a fact. Even though your chance of winning is relatively small, it is still better than not purchasing the ticket, which is your only access to win. There are two vital rules to win the lottery guaranteed. First, join in any form of gamble. Next, play if you can pay, and do it for fun.

To get real, there certainly are ways to win the lottery guaranteed and this involve following these few crucial rules. These will suitably allow you to create a handful of bucks in the next game. You must consistently remember that the winning probability in a state lotto is one is quite rare, and even purchasing 50 lotto tickets doesn’t make any difference in gaining a better chance that your numbers will be drawn.

1. To win in any gamble you must be realistic about your likelihood of ending a winner. Many get the false impression that getting the bulk will dramatically increase your winning chances. Albeit, it sounds weird, squandering huge amount of money on purchasing tickets actually makes it worst since it will lead you in acquiring a gambling addiction. This is unhealthy since it could consume your savings and lead to an appalling financial loss. As you strive to regain your money that you have lost in the lottery, there is a tendency that you will spend greater on sure-shot chances, and this will become a recurrent cycle.

2. Obtain a pragmatic view of the lotto game. Always ponder on the thought that you will never spend beyond what you can afford on various scratch off games and lottery tickets. Moreover, be content with modest winnings. Most often merely breaking even, or obtaining sufficient money to purchase a meal for the family is enough to compensate your lotto expenses. Besides, your main goal is to have fun in the game, so what you attain out of it is merely a plus. Whatever gambling activity you do, do not attempt to invest your entire income on a bunch of bulk, play the lottery enthusiastically yet wisely.

3. The adrenaline rush felt in participating in the lottery can add to your day or week. You may anticipate to the opportunity to identify if it will be your great week. So, if you are dexterous in an aimless manner then go and bet on it. No one knows when those numbers might strike luck. This is certainly advantageous, on the other hand, if your attitude towards gambling becomes out of control then seeking help is always the best option. There are various services in the community, and they are more than willing to assist those who are addicted to gambling.

4. If you obtain access to lotto numbers that won from the previous draw, look at them before purchasing a ticket. Even though it will not promise you a win, you will be more inclined to win if you pick numbers that did not made it in the last draw, since their winning probability is least expected. This act of studying previous results will help you win the lottery guaranteed.

Therefore, to be a constant winner in the lotto game, you must make use of a system that utilizes past results, a sufficient system that will enable you to win the lottery guaranteed today, tomorrow and in the next days to come.