The diagnosis ‘Gambling addiction’ is neither a rare disease nor any new discovery in science. Nobody is safe from the risk of having this diagnosis, even if one does not want to admit it. This does not mean that betting and poker have bad reputation which always pursues them! In fact, in general all addictions are alike, no matter what they are. Smoking, drugs, alcohol, and gambling can find a weak spot in our brains and nest there, like an invisible disease. Why do we need to be addicted? Well, because we are unhappy, unappreciated, controlled in some way that we want to escape from the reality to a better place, even if it is for a while. Addiction is like air – without it we die slowly if we do not eliminate the need for it in our minds!
What exactly is the gambling addiction?
Like any disease, we assume that to be a gambling addict is somehow a disease, compulsive gambling has its description, characteristics, symptoms and methods of treatment. According to the European directives for pathological conditions, gambling disease is an abnormal condition. Along with drug addiction and addiction to certain things, compulsive gambling is described as interference in the control of nerve impulses in the human brain. This definition is internationally recognized and is included in the ICD-10 form.
Here is a paraphrased definition of this pathological condition:
‘Strong need for betting over and over, which takes control over the life of the individual.
Gradually, values such social life, materialism and family get obscure, and paying attention to anything else becomes impossible. This is a state of high excitement and fiction.’
Like all mental diseases, this one is also associated with an abrupt mood swings. People feel happy and excited, then they unreasonably start to feel sad and depressed. All this is described as a manic need for gambling. People addicted to gambling are not interested in their social obligations, family relationships, and accumulation of negative credits and sinking into debts. They do not think clearly, and are always driven by the idea of gambling.
Gambling Addiction Symptoms
It is important that one admits the existence of obsessive and pathological addiction. The more one tries to hide his/her obsession with something, the more he/she gets dependent on it. Let’s be honest, it takes a lot of courage to admit that you are addicted. With the confession begins the process of treatment or at least the will for it. Here are the symptoms of gambling addiction, which you can keep an eye on in yourself or in others around you:
- Restlessness, constant need of being engaged with something. When there is a fiction, the brain is excited and the activity increases;
- Money becomes very important, more than usual. This symptom is somewhat controversial, as many fictions are related with it;
- Need for competition. To love sports is one thing, but the constant need for competition and victory is another and it may lead to addiction;
- Constant need for placing bets and reckless and sharp increase of the betting amounts;
- Irritability, mood swings and concentrating only on gambling;
- Getting money for gambling, regardless of how it was acquired.
- Affection of loss and constant attempts to restore it recklessly;
- Problems in the family, because of the lack of money;
*These include crimes such as theft, robbery, fraud; taking loans or those of friends and acquaintances;
These are some of the most prominent symptoms of compulsive gambling, but there are many other small details that accompany them.
What types of people are prone to gambling?
Before I outline the profile of the person prone to gambling addiction, it is important to mention that professional gambling and social gambling are completely different concepts. Professional bets are made by professionals. They have strategies that they follow. Social gambling is typical for leisure time and fun with friends. It is in a limited period of time and has set monetary limits that one must not cross. Now, forget everything said so far, because gambling addiction in one person does not have any rules to follow, it has only affect and effect.
Prone to gambling people, contrary to the expectations, are those that are least associated with gambling professionally. These are people who seek quick profits, introvert people and those who seek recognition from others. Weak people – those without self-esteem, those who have been supported by others for a long time- are prone to any kind of addiction, not just gambling. Adventurers of all kinds are also highly threatened by addiction to gambling. Desire of the thrill, anticipation of the moment and the culmination are always feelings that chase people who bet randomly.
The most prone to gambling addiction are usually men around 30 years living in big cities. Middle-aged women also represent a big portion of the addicted ones. In terms of percentages, 2%-3% of the population suffers from betting problems and 1% demonstrate the so-called abnormal behavior in terms of gambling.
Gambling addiction consequences
(Crimes, thefts, family problems, etc.)
Consequences of any kind of addiction are severe. One cannot remove with ease something that has controlled his/her life for years. Like the way children are amazed by the rollercoasters, teens by alcohol, bettors are amazed by the power of his/her actions when he/she wins or loses. Only one win and one single bet are enough to unlock in each of us the routine of fiction. We earn a profit of 1000 Euro and our fantasy starts to work – I will buy a car, house, I will go on holiday and many other things that we cannot afford straight away.
Consequences are lurking from any corner –lack of money or having a lot of money, asking family and friends for money; these result in even stronger fiction and affect. One addicted to gambling man would do literally anything to have money for bets. It all depends on us how far we will go with this! Small thefts, family scandals, sinking into debts, scenarios perhaps familiar to many, all of them justified and explained with one word ‘Gamble.
The word itself is somehow equivalent to “NEED” very acute and strong need over which we have lost any control. Like the warnings written on the cigarette boxes – ‘Smoking can seriously harm your health’, gambling warnings also cannot affect people prone to pathological addictions. People slowly but steadily sink into the depths of fear, insecurity and especially into the denial of the addiction’s existence! You constantly chase profit, and there isn’t any. In the poker this state is known with the term ‘tilt.’
How to overcome gambling addiction?
In order to answer this question we first need to answer the following questions:
- How to overcome our wrong self-evaluation?
- How to overcome fear of commitment?
- How to control our uncontrollable state of excitement?
These are the three conditions that make us prone to addiction. If we overcome them, we will be able to overcome our gambling addiction as well. It depends on how deep we have sunk into the depths of addiction! The process is never smooth and easy, on the contrary – the road of overcoming the addiction is harsh; full of successes and new fails.
The scary truth is that more than 25% of gambling addicts seek help too late. Even more shocking is the fact that gamblers can demonstrate personality disorders in the process of treatment. Thus, barriers and obstacles in the treatment are great.
When you are prone to addiction, you either stop playing at all or lose overall control and sink further. So, how can you fight something greater than you, your sense of real self-evaluation and your will? The answer is one – by admitting the addiction! This is the first and the biggest step towards a successful treatment.
Afterwards, there is a period of temptations that test the will and the decision never to bet again. Because once you bet again, you will open the ‘Pandora’s Box’ and all those fears and affections will overtake you in a tenfold size! The road of treatment of addiction, be it gambling or not is never straightforward. There is no formula for successful treatment; and there is no formula to escape from addiction. To combat compulsive gambling, we must admit its existence and its obsession. Only then do we have the chance to overcome it!
The human mind is a complex system, and combined with the chaos of emotions, one treatment can be a complex process – social, family and highly personal. Treatment options are two – external and internal. In early stages one can be helped by visiting psychotherapy sessions or special clinics.
Are there any places that can help in overcoming compulsive gambling?
There are specialized programs to fight compulsive gambling almost in all countries around the world. Unfortunately, this fiction of the mind is becoming more widespread and gains more victims. Is it because chimera attracts us or because we need another unconventional life, it depends on the individual, but the harsh truth is that more and more people gamble abnormally.
What is the alternative treatment of gambling addiction?
In many European countries there are psycho-social rehabilitation programs. Thanks to them, gambling addictions are also healed. It is difficult, however, to admit to you the dependency on something and maybe it is impossible to admit it in front of others! A tip from us – gain control over this fiction immediately, because every minute is crucial. A pathological addiction can control you fully and it is often irreversible!
Useful sites where you can find valuable information on overcoming compulsive gambling:
10 tips from Efirbet.com to avoid gambling addiction!
- Play social gambling – hang out with friends, argue with them, bet and have fun!
- Turn your interest into a professional occupation – if you notice passion, even it is a little one, turn gambling into your professional occupation, not an antisocial one;
- Always inform yourself – the more you read and know, the more you avoid any dependency. It is important to be a real player, not a fictional character;
- Place cash limitations – always put barriers, be it amateur and professional betting – set the amount that you are ready to lose without letting it have negative effect on you;
- Learn from the professionals – knowledge is power, as we already mentioned. Professionals build strategies, follow certain rules and are always balanced. Learn from them!
- Never play if you are distressed – pure and peaceful mind is your best ally while betting. Gambling addiction occurs in a state of uncertainty and distress. Never bet in these conditions, it is dangerous!
- Do not place bets before family and social life – gambling is a form of having fun or gaining professional profits. Whichever you choose, the decision is yours, but in both situations, your family and your social life are more important. If you put gambling in the first place, then you are a step away from becoming an addict;
- Do not aim at profit at any cost – success and wins are fleeting, prepare yourself for losses as well. The best players in this field also lose. If you pursue only profit, it will often run away.
- Accept the loss calmly – when you lose you are angry, even if you deny it. It is normal! Therefore, calm your mind and give yourself a break from the game, that way you do not risk to get into a closed and vicious circle;
- Gambling is not always considered a vice – like alcohol, gambling can also be a means of socialization and entertainment, not a vice. Play calm and do not be ashamed of it. However, we live in the 21st century and most categorized as vices things are by no means incomprehensible us!
Gambling addiction diagnosis is real. It is a human weakness. It is not the game itself that tempts us, but the meaning that everyone puts in it. To bet and to want to win is normal. Dreaming about material things also, but the placement of limits is a must! If we look at things realistically, we cannot go into a chimerical dependence. Only we can control our will and emotions whenever we want. So it is not gambling itself that is a problem, but what drives us to it. If you play a social or professional gambling, you are never dependent on it because you have a purpose, strategy and experience that sometimes can bring you profits, sometimes not.
There is loads of information about compulsive gambling online that is full of terms, definitions and tips, but the truth is that there is no universal recipe for anything, even for gambling addiction. Individuals are complicated, especially in mental terms. Undercurrent aspirations and anger can turn against us with enormous force. So, first you have to admit to yourself what you are and then you can admit to others as well! Do not be dependent, do not become a victim seeking for redemption! Look for happiness; seek it in gambling as well, because happiness exists when it is shared!