Gambling addiction is a pathological addiction to various games (mainly gambling), developing at the level of psychology, and manifested by disorders in the emotional-volitional sphere. To denote a person’s dependence on the game, in addition to the term “gambling addiction”, the terms “gambling” (from English gambling – playing for money) and “gambling addiction” (from Latin ludo – to play and Greek μανенияα – attraction, passion) are also used.
Types of gambling
Excitement is something that changes the inner state of a person, the very “high” that he gets by getting involved in games and becoming addicted to them. Excitement manifests itself in the form of a desire to win back and win more. The main theory of how gambling addiction arises is the behavioral theory of operant learning with variable reinforcement.
Today there are different types of gambling addiction. The following varieties can be distinguished:
- Gambling (in land-based or online casinos, gambling halls, etc.).
- Excessive passion for lotteries.
- Poker (although this game is considered almost sports, a lot of gambling addicts have become its victims).
- Computer games (if earlier this addiction was mainly found in children and adolescents, today this is a problem for many adults).
- Playing on stock exchanges (commodity, Forex, etc.).
The consequences of gambling addiction can be different. It depends on several factors:
- what is the person having fun;
- at what stage is his dependence;
- how emotionally stable a particular individual is;
- is the gambler ready to get rid of the addiction;
- what the environment is doing to help solve the problem.
Causes and signs of gambling addiction
The main causes of gambling addiction in a person are associated with psychological characteristics of personality development. External factors also have an impact on gambling addiction. Such as:
Internal motive. The first motive is the desire to be a leader and to show your dominant qualities that allow you to win over weaker opponents. The second type of motive is getting satisfaction, euphoria and joy from the game, while in real life a person is surrounded by only disappointments and failures. This mental illness can arise from curiosity and the desire to try their hand at unfamiliar business.
Family reasons. Many children’s complexes and fears, self-doubt push a person to gambling.
Personal factor. Low self-esteem, a tendency to depression, inability to correctly perceive criticism – all these character traits can become factors that push a person to gambling addiction.
External factors. The availability of gambling, the legal operation of casinos and slot machines, and widespread advertising in the media affect a person’s gambling addiction.
The economic factor. Instead of realizing professionally and growing creatively, taking care of a family, the player begins to chase quick money, trying to feel significant and economically independent.
Exposure to gambling addiction has no gender and can be characteristic of both the strong and the fairer sex. Also, the lack of gambling is not typical for any particular age.
Teens find hidden potential in online games. It can also be boys and girls prone to antisocial behavior. With the help of games, they throw out their aggression and dissatisfaction, and at some point, such behavior can pass to representatives of non-virtual reality.
The origins of child and youth gambling addiction should be sought, first of all, in the family. If the kid has been deprived of the attention and support of his parents since childhood, then there is a very high probability of a scenario when he will find all this at a card table, at a slot machine or behind a computer monitor.
An interesting fact is that often gambling addiction occurs in people who have received a head injury and suffer from recurrent headaches. Their brains are most sensitive to stress that occurs during play.
The main signs of gambling addiction:
- Craving to play;
- Chronic sleep disturbance;
- Anxiety and irritability when there is no way to play;
- Gradually growing obsession with games;
- The person continues to play despite the physical, psychological, financial and social problems that arise;
- Growing financial debts (using savings and salaries for the game, borrowing money, stealing, etc.);
- Depression, especially when there is no way to play;
- Feeling of remorse, remorse after playing;
- Despite the growing loss, the patient continues to play with an unshakable belief that he will now make up for all the losses;
- Loss of self-control while playing;
- Repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit games;
- Problems caused by stress (migraine, intestinal disorders);
- The desire to bet more often and win more and more.
Addiction and stages of addiction
Gambling addiction manifests itself in different ways, it includes 3 stages and a whole complex of delusions. At the first stage, the addict is only drawn into excitement, gradually increases the rates, loses alternative entertainment.
At the second stage, the gambler loses the ability to stop, boasts of winnings (often fictitious), and plunges into debt.
The third stage is full-fledged addiction, which is almost impossible to defeat. Requires complete isolation from temptations, switching to alternative entertainment, correction of psychological problems.
Gambling addiction, also known as “compulsive gambling” or “gambler’s disorder,” is an impulse control disorder. Compulsive gamblers are unable to control the impulse to play, even when they harm themselves or their loved ones.
Obsessive gamblers continue to play regardless of the consequences, even when they know that probability is playing against them or when they cannot afford to lose.
People with gambling addiction often have other behavioral or mood disorders. Many people abuse alcohol or drugs, have ADD / ADHD, or a mood disorder such as depression.
The Internet has made gambling highly accessible, and the task of recovering from addiction and avoiding relapse is the most difficult. Online casinos and bookmakers are open all day and every day for anyone with a smartphone.
Gamblers often have the problem of not losing control completely. The problem of gambling arises when any gambling behavior disrupts life. If you are preoccupied with gambling, spend more and more time and spend more and more money on gambling, or if you gamble despite serious consequences, then you have a problem with gambling.
A gambling addict over time loses his personality, turning from cheerful and purposeful to nervous and depressed. First of all, all the activities and hobbies that were previously interesting to him will cease to fascinate. With promises, things are the same as with the vows of a drug addict: they cannot be trusted. Over time, the appearance ceases to bother the gambler. Often there are problems with alcohol and even drugs, because gambling leads to such fatal changes in life that the only way to dull the pain is with the help of alcohol and drugs, which creates even greater bondage and excludes any possibility of returning to normal life. The gambler stops caring about children, parents, wife and other people close to him. From now on, his gods are adrenaline and “luck”. There is a complete change of friends: as a rule, he surrounds himself with the same losers and together they buy tickets for the nearest bus along the route to the social bottom. All the talk is only about one thing – games, games and only games. In addition, this leads to weight loss due to constant stress, headaches and nervousness, because failure accompanies every day of the player.
Gambling addiction treatment
Treatment of gambling addiction clearly requires specialist intervention. After all, a gambling addict most often turns out to be not even able to admit that there is a problem, let alone voluntarily go for treatment. If a decade ago the main problem in this area was playing in casinos and slot machines, today problems are increasingly appearing in another area. Treating computer addiction is a serious step that needs motivation from the patient himself. Of course, at first glance, the problem is not so terrible, and it seems that it can be overcome without psychotherapeutic help. But there are already plenty of examples of how addiction to a computer and gambling has a terrible and destructive effect on the psyche of teenagers and adults.
Gambling addiction leads to a person’s feeling of guilt, a desire to conceal the very fact of gambling. There is a change in lifestyle, often, involvement in criminal activities in order to get money. As a result: loss of family, job, financial insolvency.
The most effective help in such cases is provided by specialists: psychiatrists, psychologists. They will professionally determine how deep the disease has gone. Next, the patient has to choose between outpatient treatment and hospitalization.
- psychophysiological training;
- home rehabilitation program;
- formation of a healthy lifestyle;
There are various therapeutic techniques besides psychotherapy. However, psycho-correction of personality is the most important of them. Specialists use special programs to change the behavioral responses of the addict.
Gambling addiction therapy
Cognitive behavioral gambling therapy focuses on altering unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts, such as rationalization and misconceptions. This therapy teaches gamblers how to deal with gambling urges and unpleasant feelings, instead of going into a world of illusions through gambling, which entails financial, professional and interpersonal problems. The goal of this therapy is to “repair” the addicted brain by rethinking the essence of gambling.
The help of a therapist will give you the tools and support you need to rebuild and rethink poor lifestyles.
Support in the process of recovery from gambling addiction
It’s not that hard to quit playing. It is much more difficult to maintain this state, and not to break off under the pressure of another gambling rush. It’s easy to support your recovery from gambling addiction if you surround yourself with people you can count on, if you avoid a gambling environment, temporarily transfer control of your finances to another person (whom you can trust), find fun activities for yourself that you can replace gambling.