Every day we observe around us, at every step, new games and casinos. They are often seen as a means of entertainment, leisure, but also as a means of supplementing income. They may seem trivial and harmless, but in some circumstances, they can have dramatic effects on human life. Gambling is defined as games in which the win depends (almost exclusively) on the chance.
They represent a bet with a certain stake, for the players or others, the final result of which is uncertain and depends on chance. So, we are talking about a wide range of activities, from lottery and sports betting to casino games. (nih.gov)
Types of gambling behavior
One of them is the social one – an activity undertaken with friends or colleagues, which has a limited duration, and the losses are foreseen and reasonable.
Then, the problematic one – is marked by an ever-increasing interest in gambling, diminished interest in other activities and overlooking the negative consequences. And last but not least, pathological – it contains distorted thoughts: superstitions, exaggerated confidence in one’s control, belief that money is either the source or the solution of all problems.
After many years when the pathological gambling behavior was regarded as a compulsion – behavior based on the person’s need to alleviate their anxiety, in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Classification of Mental Disorders Manual, DSM – V (psychiatryonline.org), it was introduced in the chapter on addictions. Until now, addiction was seen in direct relation to a substance, but at present, it is seen as a search for a rewarding experience, despite the negative consequences. This classification comes from recent discoveries made in the field of neuroscience, which have highlighted the striking similarities between gambling addiction and substance addiction. Research shows that both have similar genetic predispositions to impulsivity and reward-seeking. As drug addicts need higher doses due to increased tolerance to the substance, so do gambling addicts seeking increasing risks. And some have withdrawal symptoms in the absence of substance or gambling.
What are the symptoms of gambling addiction?
- The need to bet ever-larger amounts to achieve the desired state.
- Irritation and agitation present at every attempt to interrupt the behavior of the game.
- Unsuccessful efforts to control, reduce or stop gambling behavior.
- Game concerns: reliving previous gaming experiences, game plans, finding ways to make money for it.
- The behavior of the game appears in times of stress, tension, experiencing negative emotions (worries, sadness, guilt, helplessness).
- Loss recovery attempt (return to the game after a loss to recover the amount).
- Endangering close relationships, job or study and/or career opportunities due to games.
- Call on those around you for financial support, in repairing situations caused by games.
Other signs include:
- Avoid work or other commitments in favor of the game.
- Hiding game behavior in front of others.
- Neglecting the payment of invoices or bills and using the money in games.
- Sale of personal items, those around or even theft.
The consequences of gambling
The consequences of gambling do not stop with financial losses, even if they can reach amounts large enough to endanger the stability and functioning of the person – so that they can end up losing significant relationships (divorce, alienation), job loss, thus affecting more important aspects of the person’s life (scr888-malaysia.com).
Stopping the behavior of the game is not easy, but it can be achieved with the support offered by a solid treatment program, which includes psychotherapy, assessment, and monitoring of the mental state, granting treatment when necessary. It also supposes informing and training those close to the addict the meaning of providing effective support in the recovery process.