“At first, a big winning, an apparently quick and easy profit, marks the start towards a world that seems like a fairytale” – psychologist Cristina Anghel, about the installation of addiction.

The ROMBET association, which has been involved in responsible gambling programs ever since its establishment, has started its collaboration with psychologist Cristina Anghel and is about to have soon a dedicated telephone line for all those interested, players with problems, their families or their friends. At that phone number, people will be able to discuss gambling problems with our psychologist and, at the same time, they can schedule two evaluation sessions free of charge. Because this is a subject of great interest, we bring you an interview in two parts with Mrs. Cristina Anghel, the ROMBET consultant in this field.

“Normal” player, player with problems, pathological player, addicted player. Are these mere theoretical categories, are the boundaries between the different player typologies that can be so clearly delimitated?

There is no unanimity of opinions as far as defining the pathological gambling is concerned, and there is no such thing as a personality profile applying to all persons with gambling problems. The data resulting from studies support the statement according to which players with gambling problems have emotional vulnerabilities in quite a high proportion. We can, however, distinguish between different types of persons gambling or betting:
– the social player – plays for entertainment, with friends, a previously established small amount of money; he can stop playing any time he wishes without having an unpleasant feeling, accepting loss as part of the game and he doesn’t try to earn back his lost money.
– the professional player – gambles in order to make money, and not for fun, and also due to certain emotional stimuli. These players are very disciplined, they don’t take risks, they stop when they win.
– the pathological player – he has an emotional addiction to the game, and in order to maintain the same level of stimulation, he has to risk increasingly big amounts of money. He cannot stop when he is winning and continues to play until he looses all his money. He promises he wouldn’t play again… but this is just a promise, disregarding the consequences.

What does self-control mean for a gambler? How can one tell if they crossed the line?

The initial winnings strengthen the ego and confirm the fact that we are, indeed, special. At first, there is often a big winning, an apparently quick and easy profit, which marks the start towards a world that seems like a fairy tale.
We can say that the line begins to be crossed when the game is no longer an activity for relaxation and fun but begins to be seen as a source of gain, when there is a financial loss and the players tries to recover it and, especially when the player bets more than he can afford to lose.

Can we talk about a situation where the player realizes he has “a problem”, but he cannot stop, or does he rather believe that the choice is his, that the “situation is under control”, but he just doesn’t want to take a break?

In the case of gambling addiction we are mainly talking about the control of the impulse to play. Usually, such a player hides his behavior from his family and friends or work mates. Being so caught in the game, he usually ignores those around him, neglects other activities, there is nothing else that attracts or pleases him. This may lead to isolation and a continuous concern for the game and for getting the necessary amounts of money.
The player reaches a state of pleasure and emotion only when he is gambling and he is trying to find a logical explanation for his uncontrolled gambling. A superstitious behavior and even a magical thinking can occur. Gradually, he is joining a fantastic world, marked by the lure of power and profit. Finally, the game becomes the main activity in his life. This development can eventually lead to physical, personal and social decline.
He won’t be able to stop by himself. Without specialized assistance, it is impossible for these persons to control themselves, to reduce or to give up this behavior. The person in such a situation needs to be supported, guided and assisted to acknowledge himself that gambling has created a problem that is hurting him and those around him, and that he needs help in order to be able to change his behavior.

The rest of the interview with Mrs. Cristina Anghel, psychologist consultant for ROMBET, in the next edition of the magazine.

Remember, the ROMBET association is waiting, as usually, your suggestions and comments at office@rombet.com.

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