At CasinoAdviser, we always promote sensible gaming, so in this article we will tell you everything we know about gambling addiction and how to deal with it. We encourage you to read it carefully!
What Exactly Is Gambling Addiction?
Addiction is a process that begins with the person enjoying an activity. It starts very innocently, it is treated like a hobby. The problem, however, begins when gambling is the only activity that gives us pleasure and we feel the inner need to repeat it at all costs. Everything else becomes less important, even what should be most important, which is family and work. Addiction can develop at different speeds and the danger can be ignored.
Many people are still convinced that you cannot become addicted to gambling, and already in 2011, addiction to gambling was put on a par with alcoholism. Below we will take a closer look at this problem, and most importantly, we will advise you on how to deal with it. We know that many people can suffer from gambling addiction, so you may recognise some of the behaviours we describe among your own. If you are or are going to be a gamer, be sure to read our article.
Gambling is all games for money and for the purpose of receiving non-cash prizes, the outcome of which does not depend on the skill and knowledge of the player. Fate decides about winning. There is nothing wrong with the game itself, but it must be under control. By allocating a certain amount to the game from time to time, we will not become addicted. The danger is when we start to play too often, even morbidly and bet unplanned amounts. We want to win back after a loss and we spend more and more time in lottery outlets or casinos, forgetting about work, family, hobbies, meetings or other important matters. If we are also unable to stop playing, we can already talk about the problem, and even about addiction.
Why Do We Gamble For Real Money?
Playing for money is a fun game in which we try our luck and enjoy winning by meeting our luck. Cash games attract us a lot and because everyone has some dreams, everyday needs or plans for the future, winning is practically the only way to achieve them in an instant. Even more so, when we hear that someone has hit the jackpot, we find out as much as possible how they achieved it and try doing the same. Another reason is to enjoy even a small reward.
Why Are Gambling Games Dangerous?
At first, gambling seems like an innocent pastime. And because we can find gaming opportunities everywhere, it’s hard to resist the temptation to play in a casino. We don’t have to look far for a casino because there are tons of gaming platforms on the internet. They tempt with graphics, bonuses and a huge range of games. Just open the website online, register an account and deposit money and we can play without interruption. It is no wonder that we want to try our luck at the casino as the casino always gives you the chance to win big.
The land-based venues have an atmosphere straight from Las Vegas, and on the Internet, the casino sites “appeal to us” with their fairy-tale pages tailored directly for SA players. Players brag about their winnings so why not give it a try, it costs little. You can not only have fun but also earn cash. It’s hard to resist the temptation. There is nothing wrong with that as long as we do it sporadically. Unfortunately, this is not true.
At first, no one suspects that curiosity, fun and the desire to win money will one day make us addicted. We lose common sense, and from there it is a step to addictive gambling. It’s an addiction and, also, a very dangerous one. For many, the adventure with gambling ends dramatically. People addicted to gambling have huge debts. They lose not only their good name, but also their job and family, and too often their lives because they commit suicide when they are hopeless. But gambling is a broad “field”. We talked about casinos but we can become addicted to many games, for example: lottery, scratch cards, bookmakers, competitions, and even the Stock Exchange, for which the common feature is unpredictability, i.e. randomness.
In most of the cases, we cannot interfere with the game, so its outcome depends on luck/chance. We believe that the next lottery coupon, a sports bet, the next scratch card will bring good luck and we will take back the lost money. In this way, we go to another extreme, because apart from illusions, we have financial problems. Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight, but gradually. Usually, when we have financial problems, we look for a solution in gambling. Some in casinos drown their sorrows, console themselves after losing a loved one or a job.
Reasons For Developing Gambling Addiction
Many people are sure to wonder why you can get addicted at all. The mechanics, in this case, are quite simple. Biologically, humans look for the dopamine they get when they win. Also important is the adrenaline generated during the game itself, but before knowing the result. Man gets used to these hormones very quickly and needs more and more doses, which leads him to place bigger bets and get into debt. But that’s not all. Research has shown that people who suffer from depression or polar diseases are also at risk of quickly becoming addicted to gambling.
The second thing is that gambling is widely available. Nowadays, you no longer have to drive a few kilometres just to be able to play. Everything is at your fingertips. A few clicks on the keyboard and you are already registered with the online casino, you can use it even when you are away from home. Such accessibility is also dangerous for minors. Third, it’s worth noting that some people are simply more likely to become addicted. If you have already had contact with addiction to, for example, alcohol, it is better not to gamble. However, it’s not just a previous experience with addiction that can trigger it. It has been noticed that people who get bored quite quickly and are impulsive are at risk of addiction. However, if we are dealing with a calm and balanced person, this risk is significantly reduced.
How To Recognise Gambling Addiction?
The player must have a clear mind and be able to recognise if he is addicted to gambling. If, while playing for a long time in games of chance, he notices changes, it is a sign that something is disturbing and it should be seriously considered. How can you recognise an addiction:
- lack of willingness to perform daily work
- feeling depressed, irritated
- insomnia, unhealthy interrupted sleep or, conversely, too long sleep
- a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness
- problem with concentration and remembering
- feeling guilty and constantly thinking about problems
- physical fatigue: slowness and heaviness or being in constant motion
- a feeling of anger, frustration, dissatisfaction, stress due to trivial reasons
- thoughts of suicide
Each of the above points is worrying. If things start to change for the worse, this could indicate an addiction. As a rule, the patient does not admit to the addiction, because it would mean the need to go to therapy and stop playing.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gambling Addiction?
- irritability, irritation when limiting and interrupting the game
- getting more involved in gambling
- lack of self-control and willingness to stop gambling or limit gambling
- escape from problems and stressful situations
- frequent desire to act back
- lying to family about the frequency of betting
- loss of relationships with other people
- loss of job, quitting education etc. due to engaging in gaming
- borrowing money to gamble
What Are The Characteristics Of Problem Gamblers?
Each person susceptible to any addiction is distinguished by certain features. It is no different with gamblers. However, the following features are not typically reserved for gamblers, but are common with them:
- lack of acceptance of reality
- emotional insecurity
- willingness to show up in front of the environment
- poor self-esteem
- quick desire to get rich, pride
How To Treat Gambling Addiction?
Gambling addiction develops very slowly, and the sooner a player turns to a therapist for help, the easier it is to help him. The condition for helping a sick person is to admit that he is addicted. It is easier to help in the initial phase, then the patient goes to a psychologist and goes to outpatient psychotherapy. If the patient comes too late, they will be treated in an addiction clinic. He will be isolated from the outside world for a long time – this is the only way out. Professionals will need to find out the cause of gambling addiction. They will help them out of the crisis.
They use various techniques of treatment, such as: motivation to change, change of thinking, learning social relations and ways of coping with stress without gambling or other disastrous emotions. The patient always has huge debts and the element of therapy is to find a solution to pay them off. Addiction treatment techniques depend on the centre to which the patient will go. In private clinics, individual and group therapy, relaxation techniques, and even self-observation, i.e. naming their own feelings by the patient, are used. As long as the sick person has the will, they will recover from addiction. The therapy is effective and is individually tailored to each person. There are many methods and it is worth familiarising yourself with the treatment techniques in each clinic.
Visit the websites listed below to seek professional support:
The therapist works on the patient’s thoughts, emotions and discovers the desires and aspirations that led to the addiction. The point is for the sick person to have a life plan, to regain balance, and to stop the ailment. Contrary to appearances, gambling addiction is a serious disease. Gamblers rarely win by losing all the money, and being usually in the red, they cause suffering not only for themselves but also for their family. The problems won’t go away by themselves. Therapy is essential and demands full cooperation of the patient.
How To Help The Family Of A Gambling Addict?
The disease affects the gambler and his family, usually, the immediate family seeks help from specialists when the disease, for example of a spouse’s spouse, has led to a serious crisis and debt. Those closest to them cannot cope with it anymore, and an addicted person who was trustworthy, supportive, warm and loving, becomes aggressive, begins to cheat and disappears from home for hours, and even returns in the morning. He hangs out at online casinos pretending to work on a computer.
The relatives of the addicted person should stop blaming the patient for this state of affairs, but try to approach the problem as a disease. To do this, they need to understand the phases of addiction to gambling. Each of the phases contains specific mechanisms, stages that explain the actions of the sick. The relatives of the sick person must understand what is happening to them, they are not able to cope with their spouse’s addiction on their own. When a family comes to a specialist, it is full of negative emotions. They are accompanied by stress, misunderstanding, aversion, and sometimes frustration and powerlessness. The therapist must also help the family. It introduces intense psychological work, creating new relationships on solid foundations.
Before we start playing, we should check whether we are in danger of becoming addicted to gambling. If we are aware of this, let’s play for virtual money or games that do not involve risking money. We will not win it is obvious, but we will not become addicted to gambling and we will avoid many problems. Gambling is not for everyone. It is for those who play occasionally and entertain it.