Gambling addiction is a disease – addiction, which is defined as one of the most common, people of any age and gender can suffer from it. Gambling addiction is a painful attraction to gambling, and not only to gambling, but also to a seemingly harmless addiction to computer games. Unlike addictions such as drug addiction or alcoholism, the disease – gambling addiction, without affecting physiology, leads a person to mental illness, emotional collapse and a feeling of dissatisfaction. But the principle of the attraction itself is similar in comparison with any other addiction. The only difference is that with drug addiction or alcoholism, the physical symptoms indicate a painful condition, while in the case of gambling addiction there are no visible symptoms.
Gambling addiction is undoubtedly a mental illness, it has existed at all times. Gambling addiction is a kind of psychological dependence, it consists in the need for gambling, while interest in material, family, and social values is lost. The reasons for the development of gambling addiction can be: sexual dissatisfaction or an unformed psyche.
Gambling addiction symptoms:
- Strong irritation of a person is observed, when trying to distract him from the game, (including computer games), inappropriate behavior.
- Human life is reduced to one idea – to play.
- Lack of sleep, appetite, irrational daily routine.
- Interest in everything (work, home, family) disappears.
- It often comes down to neglect of personal hygiene.
The consequences of gambling addiction can be disastrous. The person constantly replays the situation of the previous game, and already feels the urge to a new one. At the same time, the gambler is excited and experiencing constant anxiety, he is absorbed in the idea of the game. The game takes up almost all of his time. If a person is unable to play at the moment, he still mentally plans the course of the game, he is in this idea, he is inside the disease, and at the same time he waits for that long-awaited moment to come so that he can return to the game. Therefore, sacrificing everything, he will try to bring this moment closer.
Stages of gambling addiction:
- The first stage is determined by an increased desire to play, the stakes in the game increase. At this stage, there is still no struggle between the desire to play or not to play. A person can even refuse to play.
- The second stage is determined by the appearance of a struggle between motives to play or not to play, but at the same time a person is no longer able to refuse to play. Excitement intensifies, certain superstitions and rituals associated with the game arise. All material resources are directed to the game.
- Stage three – play becomes the center of all life. Money is perceived only as an attribute of the game. Such a person is no longer able to turn away from the game, overcome the desire to play. The worst thing is that the addicted person does not realize that for him the goal of the game was the process of the game itself, and not winning or canceling the debt.
Causes and signs of gambling addiction
The main causes of gambling addiction in a person are associated with the 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 as a result of curiosity and the desire to try your 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);
- Desire to place more and more bets and win more.
Consequences of gambling addiction:
- Family conflicts, family breakdown.
- Conflicts with friends, parting.
- The fall in social status, usually due to money debts.
- Inevitable personality degradation.
It is almost impossible for a gambler to tear himself away from the game, as if he is being held by some unknown force. Such a person always has the same way of thinking: where to find more money for the next game, what to sell, what to mortgage, where and how to steal. It is scary that a gambling addict is always trying to hide his true motive to the last by being busy playing. Even when a gambling addict feels that he is totally addicted, he will come up with anything to justify his illness – addiction.
Gambling addiction treatment
Treatment of gambling addiction clearly requires specialist intervention. After all, the gambling addict is often not even able to admit the existence of a problem, not to mention 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 many examples of how addiction to a computer and gambling has a terrible and destructive effect on the psyche of adolescents 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 will have 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 cope 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 the wrong lifestyle.
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 an exciting activity for yourself that you can replace gambling.