Nebraska State Sen. Brenda Council really did "gamble with the good life," her own, and it may cost her dearly. Council succumbed to an addiction that affects three of every 100 Nebraskans.
Council has run the gamut of high and lows recently, from backing President Obama at the Democratic Convention to the admission of a gambling problem where she withdrew $63,000 from her campaign funds.
Dr. Jeff Snell is the director of psychology at Quality Living Inc. and says an addiction stems from a release of dopamine. "It involves chemicals in the brain that are associated with the reward and re-enforcement systems. It's a sense of pleasure and excitement and those chemicals are released within our brain."
Giving us a sense of euphoria when we win. Addicts want to recreate that sensation. But that compulsiveness usually winds up costing more than expected and usually leads to a downward spiral.
"To try and recoup your losses and re-win back the money that you've lost is often that vicious cycle that people get into where by they wind up gambling money that they really don't have," Dr. Snell said.
Leading to a hope that one hit will cure all. "There's the expectation that if I just get lucky I can win back all of this that I've lost and it won't be a problem and then I'll quit and it just compounds the losses," Dr. Snell said.
The vast majority of us can walk away, but for some the compulsion to gamble overpowers the logical reasons to stop. "Anyone can be vulnerable to these issues."
Most of the treatment for a gambling addiction is through counseling and peer group sessions. Brenda Council said in a statement she is enrolled in a treatment program and intends to pay back all the money.