Gambling has become a favourite form of entertainment for millions of people around the world. While most players prefer an amateur approach without getting excited, others go overboard. When do you need to stop? How much to invest in the game? It’s a completely individual matter, but you certainly shouldn't bet your life.
To help to sort out a potential problem, you should take a sensible look at the situation: weigh the pros and cons. Among the positive aspects of gambling are:
- You will not be bored
- A significant value of victory
- Easy to start, easy to finish
- There's a whole world inside
Now let's look at the cons:
- Community pressure (your friends may be against)
- Possible loss of funds
- There are times when it is difficult to control yourself
- The risk is high
How dangerous is a gambling addiction?
It should be said that gambling addiction is a problem of human psychological health. For example, you can look at kleptomania, pyromania, or drug use - all this is psychology.
An addicted player does not always understand the seriousness of the problem and cannot reasonably assess the situation. It seems to one that he/she can quit this destructive occupation at any moment. Unfortunately, it does not work this way. Sometimes, people harm not only themselves but also those around them, so it is important to be wary of the possible consequences. Gambling addiction has different forms – the main ones are:
- The harmful activity has long become a habit that one is not always able to control.
- Hobbies not only affect one’s work but also personal life.
- One tends to distort reality and lie about wasting money.
- Over time, one notices that passion becomes an integral part of their lives.
- The desire to start the game crushes everything else; there is a shift in priorities.
- The consequences are never considered beforehand.
- One connects each win to one’s own account, so it is very difficult for one to meet failure.
- It is generally accepted that this type of addiction can be pathological in nature.
- A person exhibits a sound mind in the daytime but completely changes one’s approach with the influence of the environment.
- A person has a good reputation and does not show gambling addiction in everyday life.
- In moments of luck, one is willing to move on as if it won't end.
- In times of failure, one does not take risks and does not ponder decisions about continuing the game.
How to identify a gambling addiction?
If you have a friend or family member who is acting extremely strange, exhibiting symptoms of gambling addiction – you can use a list of clear signs that will help you figure it out.
In this small list, there are signs that you may have observed over the past 6-12 months. If the suspect does not have a psychological illness and is not in a depressed state, the chance of correct identification is extremely high. The criterion for the diagnosis was established by the American Psychiatric Association.
The limits are going up. A person feels the need to raise rates in order to obtain the required level of excitement.
- Irritability and anxiety follow in an attempt to reduce his involvement in gambling.
- Attempts to finish the game ended with a quick return.
- Gambling is always in one’s head (a topic of conversation, jokes, and looking for money to play).
- Treating trauma (depression, helplessness, anxiety, or guilt).
- Return to financial losses (a kind of loss chase).
- A constant lie about the lack of gaming experience and financial losses.
- Negative impact on personal life, work, or other aspects of life.
- Searching for money in an attempt to solve personal problems at someone else's expense.
If 4 or more items from the list coincide, there is a possibility that you are dealing with a gambling addiction. To fully assess the situation, you should contact a medical specialist (therapist or psychiatrist) and explain the problem in details. A medical consultation will allow you to get a more accurate diagnosis.
A healthcare professional will help you rule out possible mental disorders, which may be one of the reasons for this strange behavior. As a rule, there are many other psychological complications behind gambling addiction, which lead to instability and anxiety in your consciousness. Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse can be among the causes. Only by contacting a specialist you can find the source of your troubles and start working on improving your condition.
A dangerous path to Ludomania
Ludomania (the current medical term) denotes a serious addiction to gambling. Most experts say that this psychological disease is a symptom that is based on other mental illnesses. The root cause can be social, psychological, but also biological factors.
Most experts note the importance of the age of the person suffering from the disease. In addition, they take into account the seriousness of the attitude to the gameplay, victories, and defeats.
The biological side
One of the decisive roles in the construction of addiction is considered to be biological, which quite often leads to various kinds of mental consequences. Representatives of the Institute for Addiction Recovery in Illinois cited a number of evidence of similarities with the effects of psychoactive substances. Along with emotions, the patient's body receives a number of hormones. Therefore, a refusal to continue the game can cause complex physical consequences as well as a drug addiction.
Brain scans of test subjects give a glimpse of the problem from inside. It turned out that by winning, we induce neurological responses similar to drug use. Over time, our body gets used to the joy of victory, it becomes more and more difficult to experience emotions in the real world. Therefore, everything goes back to the game.
Our body may lack quite important elements such as Serotonin and Norepinephrine, which are associated with different types of emotions (happiness or compulsive behaviour, excitement or stress). Thus, an online casinos addiction can be a manifestation of something deficient in your body.
The psychological side
Your attitude to gambling speaks a lot about your psychological state. The view of the gameplay can be dramatically different ("The Gambler’s fallacy" as an example).
The Gambler's fallacy is a false understanding of the game based on the influence of independent events on the outcome (victory). For example, we tend to think that an event that has happened many times in the past will be less likely to repeat in the future.
One of the clearest examples is "Monte Carlo Fallacy", an event that took place over 100 years ago. In classic roulette, black is drawn more than 26 times in a row. Many players who tried to utilize the martingale strategy lost an extremely impressive amount of money on this game. Also, many addicts attribute everything to their failure, increasingly restarting the game hoping to catch their luck. Unfortunately, luck has no memory and no obligation to you.
Cognitive biases are also attributed to psychological factors. Distorted or illusory thinking does not always reflect the real state of affairs out of control. Superstition in beliefs, denial of the problem, and overconfidence in winning only make matters worse. Video slots are considered to be even more problematic since their dynamism quite often reveals the bad sides of a person's psychological state.
Like most psychological problems, the social dimension contributes to ludomania. Having problems in your personal life or at work is complemented by a high level of stress, which leads to an aggravation of the situation. However, the external environment is not always the main cause of the disease.
The presence of problems in the sociological environment can push a person to take higher risks. Thus, families with frequent gambling practices have a high chance of passing on psychological problems to the younger generation. In this case, people are involved in the process from an early age and do not always understand the importance of what is happening.
Depression, high levels of stress, loneliness (misunderstanding or rejection in the family or among friends) all increase the risk of ludomania.
Comorbidity is a combination of several problems that appear against the background of the underlying disease. Which leads to the problem of their detection and diagnosis by specialists.
Among the most important elements affecting the appearance of problems with gambling addiction are:
- Alcohol problems (addiction to alcoholism)
- Drug addiction
- Personality or depressive disorders
Take a look at the list above and try to figure out if you've ever encountered one of these problems. Each of these points significantly increases the chances of psychological problems. Found yourself? We strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor to diagnose the condition and eliminate possible problems.
Negative sides of gambling
Adverse consequences are not uncommon in the gambling world. Some of these repercussions are not obvious, but others are.
Money and Finance
Most players use real money modes – so too big bets, frequent deposits, and prolonged rage lead to irreversible financial problems. Lost all your money? It doesn't matter, the addicted person will always find where to borrow more. Losing your assets (real estate, cars, etc.) is a major financial problem leading to bankruptcy. On rare occasions, people decide to cross the line and get in trouble with the law in an attempt to restore their former financial situation, close their debts, or simply return to the game.
Mental health has long been considered one of the most striking negative effects of gambling addiction. People are not always prone to introspection, so they can lose sight of the psychological state. Breaking up a relationship, being fired from work or business – all do actively contribute to the accumulation of stress and depression, which sometimes leads to the direst consequence: suicide.
Then, you should evaluate your condition before and after a gaming session.
Psychological problems quite often affect not only ourselves but also our environment, family, and loved ones. They surround us at the beginning of addiction but they also face the disastrous consequences of its severe forms. Psychologists say that families with addiction problems are much more likely to experience domestic violence. Understanding all aspects of the disease, you have a great chance of recovery.
Career and Work
The consequences of uncontrolled gambling almost always affect your relationship with work, as it affects your motivation, your productivity, and adherence to your life plans. Likewise, some people are reluctant to work from the workplace, giving full preference for addiction. You can also look for any excuse to take a sick day. All of this will certainly lead to disastrous consequences for your long-term career, affecting your financial situation now.
How common is a gambling problem?
Gambling is the driving force behind the rapidly growing global economy. The segment sets new profit records every year and has long shown an income of tens of billions of dollars a year. Of course, there are winners and losers in a booming industry.
Every year, roughly 2 billion people play with their luck. The audience of casinos, poker clubs, sports betting and other similar entertainment is actively growing in all countries. It is believed that 4.2 billion people have had similar experiences. Now it is worth considering the fact that this is more than half of the world's population. Gambling is very popular!
Based on research statistics, 5% of the country's adult population are regular visitors to terrestrial establishments. When it comes to online casinos, this figure rises to 12%.
Traditional offline casinos are well aware that it is a bad idea to limit yourself to incoming customers only. Therefore, it almost always provides its services online. It is not only cheaper and more convenient but also more interactive, as there are many ways to interact with your audience.
How much does an average casino player spend on his game?
- Table games (roulette, craps) average $ 45.
- Card games (blackjack, poker) average $ 50.
- The slot machine – about $ 40-45.
Based on this information, you can imagine what kind of profit is generated by millions of players from all over the world. But among those who just have fun, there are about 12% of people for whom it will be a bad experience.
How to deal with gambling addiction?
Any problem with a person's physical or psychological condition must be diagnosed by a healthcare professional. With suspicions of possible addiction and an inability to think well, there are many ways to heal & many help centres around the world.
The doctor's help is the first thing that is needed in the diagnosis and further treatment. A medical specialist will be able to assess the complexity of a particular situation and decide on a possible treatment for it. However, there is no universal way for a treatment, just as there is no single special pill. The most effective option is a combination of the most effective rehabilitation methods.
As we have already said, you will not find a special pill that is able to stop the attraction to problem addictions. Nevertheless, there are medications the intake of which has a positive effect on reducing the need for gambling, compensating for the lack of adrenaline from the vivid emotions often received in the casino.
The set of medicines used to prevent or treat gambling addiction is universal and is used in the treatment of other psychological ailments (depression, disorders, anxiety). Thus, the main goal is to return a person to a stable mental state.
Consultation and Therapy
One of the most effective ways to treat the problem is psychotherapy. A qualified healthcare professional can provide detailed consultation and therapy sessions based on your specific case. Quite often, major mental disorders can coexist with gambling addiction, which can be easily identified by a doctor during a therapy session. That is why to treat psychological problems, you need a real person who can assess your condition and find hidden problems. The chance of healing through regular psychotherapy is quite high.
Self-help or Group support
Everything is in your hands, especially the desire to change your life for the better. By assessing your condition and setting a global goal of returning to your earlier life, you will increase the chances of successful treatment. Also, you can use another, perhaps even more effective tool - Group Support. This kind of support is a gathering of anonymous individuals with similar problems who do not want to be alone with their evil spirits. By looking at the lives of other people from different social backgrounds, you can understand that your problem is not unique. Perhaps, you will find like-minded people who will become your friends in a healthy life.
- The American Psychiatric Association has long been familiar with the problems of gambling addiction of many people; therefore, there are its recommendations for self-medication:
- Help from friends or relatives, visiting anonymous support groups
- Search for alternative activities and entertainment - find yourself within a different direction.
- Control your impulses: observe your condition and the extinction of cravings.
- Think about the long-term consequences of how addiction will affect your work and social life.
- Help someone else. Find someone with a similar problem and help them cope with it.
If you cannot help yourself, how will you help others?
Most people who gamble will not run into problems or get out of their own control. But still, there are many of those whose addiction will actively develop with each new day. Looking at the life of such a person, you will get a unique chance to look at your life from a different angle.
If there is a person in your social circle who is faced with the problems of Gambling Mania, it is important not to leave him aside and try to help him. It is commonplace that the earlier you start treatment and the path to recovery, the less damage to the player's life.
Some psychological problems that we often encounter in our life are quite complex. Professional intervention, holistic approach, and self-treatment (problem acceptance) are changing the lives of millions of people around the world. Get started now and say thank you to yourself tomorrow!
Signs of a problem
It all starts with defining the problem. The sooner you notice, the more likely your colleague, relative, or friend will be cured. Here is a list of clear signs to help you with this:
- Lying about play habits (In danger of being judged).
- Deterioration of relations with others due to a large amount of time spent on the game.
- A person may not notice the problem or deny its presence.
- They continually ask for money or are in constant search for it.
- The amount of time for the game increases significantly – in parallel with this, a person's free time decreases (he becomes less available).
- Gambling is the most important thing. A person would rather spend money on gambling than on basic necessities or paying bills.
If you managed to find one or more matches from this list of Ludoman signs, you should not leave it unnoticed, trying to ignore the importance of exhibited actions. Some people find it very difficult to see the problem, they are afraid to talk about it or ask for help. Constructive dialogue and offering your help without judgment will be the best option for help.
If you spot a problem with another person and decide to help, there are a few things to consider:
- Your support is very important
- Make sure you don't sponsor the game (lend money)
- Offer your help as needed
And remember that taking financial responsibility for the addict's problems is a bad idea. The best way to help financially is to pay for professional help, counselling, or psychotherapy. After that, you can deal with the debt settlement.
Convincing a person that there is a problem and the need for specialized help is not an easy task. Still, there are some tricks you can use to get a glimpse of a bigger problem and its implications.
Intervention works great as a trick. Its principle is based on a fairly simple thing. Friends and family members should engage in open conversation and discuss their problems in front of the player. Particular attention should be paid to the tone of the conversation - only a positive and benevolent tone, without reproaches or remorse since he should not feel attacked by you. The idea is that the circle of loved ones who care about his problems will awaken in him a sincere desire to understand the importance of others and the path ahead.
You can practice this technique on your own, but nevertheless it will not hurt you to seek the advice of a specialist. Perhaps this will increase the effectiveness of your actions.
Suicide Prevention Among Ludomania
The high level of suicide in the Ludomania circle is another confirmation of the psychological side of the disease. Along with gambling addiction, the patient experiences secondary problems such as anxiety or depression. All this aggravates the situation and can lead to disastrous consequences.
Suicidal thoughts are worth discussing if you are confident in their presence. Such a conversation should be open and honest – the person should not be afraid to speak to you.
Suicide is not an option and a person must understand this. If you feel the situation is serious, you should call the hotline of your local suicide prevention organization. On the line, you will be met by a specialist to whom you can tell about any problem.
Are there any alternatives?
Complete or partial withdrawal from gambling is not an endpoint. The main goal of treatment is self-control and relapse avoidance.
The availability of online gambling significantly aggravates the problem of Ludomania in our society. Even while on treatment, a person can see teasing advertisements and jump on them. Therefore, it is worth focusing on finding worthy alternatives.
Has the problem of gambling addiction bypassed you? Great, then you will find great ideas for alternative entertainment here.
Reason for playing
A fun process and promotes the release of adrenaline into the blood
Try to find similar sensations in sports, especially in team events. Some exotic sports can help offset the adrenaline rush. These include go-karting, rafting, rock climbing, skiing or cycling.
The social aspect, interaction with other people
Interacting with people is a powerful tool in building personality. Have you ever tried yourself in book clubs, public speeches, volunteering and other socially significant events? You should definitely try it!
Helps to relax and forget about problems in life
Focus on self-development. Remember that your life is only one and you should use this chance to the maximum. Read books, develop in all directions and live in joy.
You feel less alone
Use the power of passion. Movies, music, books, comics - what do you like? Share it with others and you will quickly find like-minded people.
First of all, gambling is a way of entertainment, not making money. There is no better way to make money than work or business. Realize yourself in these directions and you will forget about the rest!
Ludomania. Myths and facts
A huge number of misconceptions have gathered around Gambling, among which it is quite difficult to determine where is the truth and where is the lie. If gambling has touched your life, it is important to see the real picture and ignore myths. Top 5 Myths:
Gambling is not a problem until the moment when a person is able to accept the lost amount (it does not get out of control).
Fact: financial problems are not the only problem, but one of the most significant and difficult for many players. The loss is not a priority factor for diagnosing the disease, as financial implications are not a method of assessment. In some cases, the consequences will affect personal life, business or work, instead of a bank account.
Only regular players can face addiction. Occasionally visiting a casino will not harm you.
Fact: the frequency of visiting gambling establishments by the player does not in any way determine the presence of a problem. Combined with unstable mental health, drinking and social problems, even rare players can lose control of their game. In this case, they are no longer responsible for the outcome of the evening or their decisions.
Gambling addiction is a problem of irresponsible people.
Fact: Responsible people have as much chance of gambling problems as irresponsible people. Even responsible people can lose control of the gambling table without fully realizing what is happening. This state does not depend on the level of social or financial responsibility.
Gambling addiction is an adult problem. It bypasses teenagers and children, as they cannot play it legally.
Fact: The value of money at a young age is much lower, so minors leave more money in the casino. The problem may be of a family nature since a bad example in the family can be inherited by any of its members, even at a very young age. You shouldn't pay attention to age.
Paying off the debts of a person with a gambling addiction will do a good deed.
Fact: Financial responsibility is one of the main problems of addiction, and only the player should bear it. It is much better to pay for the consultation of a professional expert who can solve the player's problem. Otherwise, the person will try to shift his responsibility to others. You can make things worse.