- Written by Vladislav Dibrov
Gambling addiction: meaning and ways of treatment
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Why gambling is an addiction
The gambling has been for several hundred years. The eras, generations and Governments have changed, but the casino is still an addiction. Why do people have such strange behaviour? After all, the casino always wins. The casino has always earned throughout time. However, people keep coming back again and again to gambling houses.
And it is not about money, but psychology. Anyone can have a gambling addiction. Some may be less addictive, others more. However, with rare exceptions, anyone may be addicted to gaming. And, as a rule, the target of gambling addiction is the energetic and purposeful people who value their own time and money.
Anyone may be addicted to gambling. It is like a drug addiction – you have to begin. Depending on the player psychology, the habit may be treated faster or slower. Some may live gambling addiction a whole life.
The novices are lucky, or the first dose is free
However, the casino is a business. The only rule is that the casino always gets the mathematical expectation (advantage). The casino always wins! The more people play, the higher the probability of loss. The human factor is taken into consideration, as well.
Our memory is quite selective. You may not remember the series of small losses, but a big win will be remembered for a long time. Then you play over and over again, hoping to repeat it. Ask any avid player about how much he lost. He will tell you a quite significant amount, but more often he will try to pull the plug on it. However, he continues to play. He has no choice. He is already addicted.
Winning is not so crucial as gameplay
At some point, the victory becomes less important than the gameplay. This is explained by the fact that during the game, you experience powerful emotions. In everyday life, the feelings of such force are quite rare. Sometimes the casino game is compared to "driving rage": when the person becomes irritable while driving and hardly controls his deeds and sayings. If you frequently play at slots, remember your felling in the following situations:
- When a missing symbol drops at a high stake.
- When you get a big win at a high stake.
- When you get on the last line, the 3th Scatter and the free spins with a multiplier are triggered at a high stake.
In the end, you cannot live without those feelings and emotions. You get addicted to the gaming endorphins and adrenaline. So, the gameplay becomes more important than the result. That is gambling addiction. Learn more about the effects of endorphins on the formation of gambling addiction in the following article:
Stages of gambling addiction
Psychological gaming addiction is also known as a gambling addiction. This is a disease, along with alcoholism, drug and sex addiction. These people can join the groups for taking their treatment. They will have individual therapy sessions and group training. It is believed that these people need help; they cannot do this by them.
- Typically, in the early stages, people can still control themselves. They calculate the amounts they can afford to lose and try to be on the budget.
- As gambling addiction progresses, they are no longer under control. They have excuses for any of their actions. Often, at this early stage, the players start borrowing money. As soon as you start playing on other money, it is essential to recognise the existence of the problem and start getting rid of it.
- In the end, the player falls into a trap. He owes money to everybody, and the only way to return it is to get a big win. However, this requires higher stakes. From now on the player needs money just for a game. And it does not matter how and when tomorrow comes. It does not matter where the money comes from and on what it was saved. There's only now, and this is the point when the loss is inevitable. And he continues to play. He even has a strong reason for doing it this way. This is also self-deception. Even if the addicted gambler gets a big win, he will not stop, hoping that another big win will shortly come. And the only outcome is the waste of all the money and the bottom of the social ladder.
Who are they, the addicted gamblers?
Perhaps you have heard this expression "there is only one passion". The player has his passion — the game, and it overrides all other life aspects. Family, job, hobbies are no longer critical. Even money loses its value; the player starts spending it quite quickly.
Outside of gambling, money has no priority in the life of the addicted gambler. On a subconscious level, he does not believe he will get a winning. His thoughts are as follows: "Whether to leave a big tip at the restaurant? Why not? Tonight, I am going to win or lose hundreds of thousands. This 1000 tip is nothing!" The game becomes an obsession. Soon enough, he even starts having dreams of big winnings, slots, etc. In this case, the subconscious is already entirely under the control of gambling addiction, and you need help (read below).
As drugs addiction, gambling addiction also requires a continuous increase in dose. Play at the same stakes becomes a boring activity, and the feelings are no longer strong. To experience stronger emotions, you have to raise the stakes, higher and higher.
The maximum bets at slots may be up to $1000 per spin. This stake is also played. The player will get the dose of adrenaline until the played amount is of great importance.
Entirely no matter how much the player had before the addiction. The millionaire would get bored playing at a 100 Euro bet; he will start with thousands and then will raise the stakes. The player with tens of millions will start with tens of thousands and will continue increasing the stakes. Any casino may change your maximum bet as you would like.
The standard game session of the addicted gambler
While the player is in the primary and secondary stages of addiction, the usual game session is as follows:
- The player can stop when hitting a win. Unfortunately, right after the withdrawal request, you start having thoughts that you could win even more. The outcome is either the cancellation of withdrawal request or a repeated deposit for a further play.
- If the player loses, he will do everything to continue the game, he needs his money back. This was called "the feeling of revenge". The fact of losing cash encourages the player to take thoughtless actions, the only purpose of which is the new game.
- If the player has a significant amount on his balance, he will bet higher; if the amount is small, he will start looking for ways to make a deposit or will imagine playing big.
- The metamorphoses from our mind truly know no bounds.
Make sure you do not have a gambling addiction
Let us have a little test to find it out. Below is a list of questions that will show signs of gambling addiction. Answer shortly (yes/no) and see the outcome.
- Do you play more than an hour per day?
- Do you spend more money than your budget is?
- Have you ever borrowed money for the game?
- Have you ever chosen the game over the weekend with your family or have you ever changed the plans because of the game?
- Have you ever dreamed a big win at a specific slot?
- Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to play?
- Have you ever cancelled the withdrawal request for a further play and in the end wasted everything?
- Have you ever noticed that you have to shake hands while anticipating a fats game, or have you ever been in a hurry to play at the slot?
- Do you have strong feelings when getting the money which will not be played? Have you ever played them?
By having at least two affirmative answers, the addiction is on its way. If you have more than two affirmative answers, it is a good reason to change your attitude toward gambling and see a specialist who will help you get rid of gambling addiction.
How to get rid of gambling addiction
- The treatment consists of the same steps as in alcoholism or drugs addiction case. Addicted people must understand that there are a lot of pleasures in life besides the game. When he realises how good life without loans is he will not go back.
- You cannot get rid of it on the same day. It will just lead to a complicated situation; you will be eager to play. You must gradually reduce the amount you can afford. Using this amount, you must plan your expenses. Gradually, the amount will be lowered to the minimum, and this will be a play for fun rather than a real problem. After that, it will not be a problem to stop playing.
- Several ways will help you control your gambling spending. Some of them are strongly recommended others will require time to apply the limits.
Set the bank limits
The first method of dealing with gambling addiction is the card limits on online transactions. You may ask your bank to set the limits on online purchases. You may ask for daily, weekly and monthly limits. Over time the interest in micro-stakes will show up, and the problem involving the large expenses will be solved.
Many serious casinos are worried about their client's state of mind and are concerned about gambling addiction. The players get the opportunity to set daily, weekly and monthly limits. You will not be able to continue the game or make a deposit when the limit is reached. To change the limit, you will have to wait a week.
This is different from the first method by the possibility of gradually reducing the limits. Or you can even increase them on some special days, which is followed by a decrease again. Getting rid of it will be much more comfortable than in the first method. The complexity of this method is the possibility of a quick registration in a new casino; there are no limits set. Either you have to register all the casinos that are available and ask for support to block your account or ask the Bank to take in and out of online transactions a particular operator. That is, after making a deposit, call your bank and block all other outgoing transactions, except the provided operator. After that, you will only be able to play at the selected online casino, where you will control the expenses.
Contact a specialist
In general, this method should be used only in very advanced cases. The particular groups where the therapy is practised may be found just in big cities. The cost of such services may vary significantly. You can try to find help online, but, usually, the first two methods are more effective.
Use more than one method (complex approach)
- In my opinion, you should use several ways together. For example, if your budget allows you to lose $500 per month safely, it is worth setting a weekly limit of $170 at the bank level. It is essential to ask the operator to set the impossibility to change the limit at your request within 30 business days.
- Then use the second method and block your play at the casinos which have no stake limits or ask the operator to set as an exception a specific casino.
- I am pretty sure that after a few months, you will experience the same strong feelings while playing at micro-stakes, and this will help you get rid of gambling addiction. At the same time, you will actively control the expenses, which will give you extra motivation to self-control.
The more you limit yourself, the more beautiful will be your life. In the end, you will get rid of the gambling addiction and will not go back to him.
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