We all gamble for pleasure in the first place. And if you find nothing relaxing, refreshing, thrilling in gambling, here’s a piece of advice: switch the game because you are going the wrong path, or at least you are getting less than you could from gambling. Yeah, we’re talking about hormones – endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine, and especially serotonin, the hormone that helps regulate our sleep, appetite, memory, and ability to learn.
Though all the mentioned hormones are important mood-boosters, we are going to focus on serotonin. It regulates our mood, the feeling of well-being, and finally, happiness through helping brain and nervous system cells to communicate with each other – such an important cog in the mechanics of life it is!
You must have heard some popular advice on boosting your serotonin levels: getting outside, exercising, laughing, consuming supplements, meditating, listening to music, and so on. But none of these gave you an idea of the connection between gambling and serotonin. How to gamble to produce the optimal level of serotonin (unfortunately, the more the better doesn’t work with it) and keep your body and mind sound? How to make serotonin work for you? Let’s shed some light on these questions.
How Long to Play to Feel Good?
There is no single point of view on the time you should spend at your favorite slot or table game to become happier – not just because we are all unique, but mostly because it largely depends on the game design, behavior design, and design thinking, all three inevitable components of video and gamble games. In other words, playing at brick-and-mortar casinos and online gambling sites with online roulette welcoming new players will likely cause different emotions depending on the peculiarities of the game you play and your personality.
That said, there are some substantial scientific data that urges us to play less. Speaking numbers, this ‘less’ is about three hours a day at maximum. And here’s why:
- Contrary to popular opinion, serotonin does not always make us feel elated. This complex neurotransmitter sends messages across our brain, and, keeping it simple, it plugs in oxytocin and dopamine into the pleasure receptors. But if serotonin can’t reach the receptor sites, which may be caused by the chemical imbalance typical for those eager gamblers playing for hours without breaks, it can lead to irritation, impulsiveness, and even depression.
There’s data that children that play video games for more than three hours in a row experience stress caused by a serotonin imbalance. For sure this applies to adult gamblers as well with the only correction that they should gamble more to achieve the same negative effect.
Is Too Much Pleasure Leads to Addiction?
The physiology of gambling is quite difficult – one and the same person may or may not get on the hook depending on the time spent at the casino, the luck (whether you win or lose), and the genetic predisposition to addictiveness and risk-taking behavior. But again, let’s keep it simple and proceed from the fact that we tend to repeat anything that makes us happy over and over again, and for sure gambling falls in that category. Addiction is real, no doubt – serotonin and dopamine activate the pleasure circuit – but at the same time, the truth is that media tend to exaggerate the problem, especially promoters of dubious treatments and therapies that have no proven medical benefits and usually have nothing to do with medicine at all.
You don’t have to know the biology of the brain to extract positive emotions from gambling while remaining cautious and responsible – just do not exceed the reasonable time limits (no more than a few hours a day, remember?) and always start with the free gambling mode so that you can get the hang of the game that you are going to spend your hard-earned money on. A few hours of gambling on the house may be as rechargeable as a real-money play – after all, you can’t lose when you play for free. Good luck in boosting your hormones at online casinos!