Addiction, The Silent Killer

The word “addiction” is derived from a Latin term for “enslaved by” or “bound to.” Anyone who has struggled to overcome an addiction or has tried to help someone else to do so understands why.

Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences.

Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable, but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

The word addiction is used in several different ways. One definition describes physical addiction. This is a biological state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that drug no longer has the same effect, otherwise known as a tolerance. Another form of physical addiction is the phenomenon of overreaction by the brain to drugs (or to cues associated with the drugs). An alcoholic walking into a bar, for instance, will feel an extra pull to have a drink because of these cues.

People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using. Their addiction may reach a point at which it is harmful.

Addictions do not only include physical things we consume, such as drugs or alcohol, but may include virtually anything, such abstract things as gambling to seemingly harmless products, such as chocolate – in other words, addiction may refer to a substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) or behavioral addiction (e.g. gambling addiction).

However, most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People compulsively use drugs, gamble, or shop nearly always in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior.

Addiction, often referred to as dependency often leads to tolerance – the addicted person needs larger and more regular amounts of whatever they are addicted to in order to receive the same effect. Often, the initial reward is no longer felt, and the addiction continues because withdrawal is so unpleasant.

When referring to any kind of addiction, it is important to recognize that its cause is not simply a search for pleasure and that addiction has nothing to do with one’s morality or strength of character.

Experts debate whether addiction is a “disease” or a true mental illness, whether drug dependence and addiction mean the same thing, and many other aspects of addiction. Such debates are not likely to be resolved soon.

Horse Racing Betting Strategy to Avoid Ruin

Gambler’s Ruin is a term that has been applied to several mathematical theories. The basic idea is that the longer you gamble the more likely you are to lose. That may sound incredibly simple, but how many people try to grind out a living gambling at the horse races day after day and finally tapping out? The first and most obvious point is that when you gamble against a player who has a bigger bankroll than yours, you’re at a disadvantage because he can last throw losing streaks longer than you can so he will eventually win your money.

But wait, you say, the horse races are different because I don’t gamble against the track, I gamble against the other players. Think of the other players, the pools that are put forth every day on each race, as a never ending source of money. Isn’t that how you would like it to be? You want to think that the money will be there everyday and if you figure out how to handicap well enough you’ll be able to dip into that pool every day and take out a profit.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that it is a source of wealth much larger than yours that you are gambling against. No matter what angle you use, eventually you’ll experience losing streaks. Those losing streaks over time will eat up a grinder’s roll. The pools at the race track will be replenished every day, unlike your own bankroll that is much more limited. The problem is “churn,” a term used in the gambling profession to describe what happens when gamblers keep reinvesting their money until the takeout eats it up.

The math doesn’t lie, but there are ways to reduce the effects. For one thing, bet less often and try to make more per bet. In that case it makes more sense to bet on long shots, if you can pick live bets. Another approach is to only gamble with amounts that you can replace on a weekly or monthly basis. You will still have losing streaks and times when you won’t make a profit, but if there is more money coming along, you won’t go broke. The problem with that, of course, is that you may be bleeding money week after week and year after year. There are no simple solutions to horse racing handicapping profitability.

I prefer to play the races for a while and then take a break. I keep track of my money and consider each foray a gambling campaign. Reducing my horse playing to sessions and campaigns makes it easier to manage my money and to have success that bolsters confidence. Dividing my play into a set number of races, say forty or fifty races, I can track performance and make adjustments.