Let’s understand the game…

From motivation to risk factors…
by Leliana Pârvulescu, Psychologist

The cold weather is gone now and I am enjoying the too generous sun and the walks in the middle of nature.

While I was strolling through Herastrau, I met with one of my friends whom I knew from the gaming room. He had gone through the steps of the ‚Responsible Gaming’ program, which I coordinate, and he gave me a broad smile, as he was in high spirits thanks to the clear air and hot sun.

We sat down on a bench and started telling stories…I understood that he had the need to understood what steps a pathological gambler should take between the time he started playing to the moment when he reached the addiction stage.

Certain authors (Custer, 1982) distinguish ‚progression stages in the pathological gambling’, where the player can either move to an aggravation of the problem, or to its solution. To be more precise, the following stages were defined:

• THE STAGE OF WINNING: characterized by the occasional gambling and an initial win, which motivates the individual to play progressively, as the game brings pleasure and blows off the tensions and the negative emotions.
• THE STAGE OF LOSING: refers to the moment when the player starts losing, which leads to increasing the money amount that the person is gambling, to the debts, to a higher concern about playing more and more and a longer time spent in the gaming room.
• THE STAGE OF DESPAIR: where the gambling time is soaring and hence the social isolation, problems at the employment place or at school and family issues (divorce, separation). Sometimes, all these can generate desperate gestures and suicidal attempts.
• THE CRITICAL STAGE: where there is the desire to ask for help, to get out of your problems and the hope and real efforts to solve your problems.
• THE RECONSTRUCTION STAGE: where improvements are more visible in the family life, in the ability to plan new objectives and in the increase of the self-esteem.
• THE GROWTH STAGE: where a major ability of introspection is developed, a new lifestyle that is far away from the pathological gambling, when the individual understands that gambling can become a source of pleasure and a nice pastime.

From the motivation to the risk factors
There are numerous studies that have aimed to individualize the risk factors that can make a person become an ‚impulsive pathological gambler’ and then an addict, which refer to three aspects interacting among them.

• BIOLOGICAL ASPECTS: mainly about the neurophysiological factors. It is not yet demonstrated, but the imbalance of these neurotransmitters can bring an imbalance in their functioning, transposed in serotonine production – a chemical substance in the brain that is responsible for the emotional and behavioral balance, which lowers below the average for the pathological gamblers.
• AMBIENTAL – EDUCATIONAL ASPECTS: both the education and the environment of the individual are to be considered, characterized by problematic situations and a tendency to stimulate and overevaluate the possibility of being happy, related to money possession. The presence of certain economic difficulties (the loss of the job, for example) is a risk factor for ludopathy.
• PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS: are the closest to the personality disorders that would steer the individuals to addiction, where they have the need to prove a control over everything around them.
The games that seem to have a major predisposition towards risk are the ones providing a great closeness in space and time between betting and the prize, such as the slot machines and the casino games, as well as videopoker and Bingo.

For people, the highest risk is in women, housewives and the business owners ranging between 40 and 50 years old; for men, it will be in the jobless ones, the ones owning a business and have a permanent contact with money (sale activities, for example) at the age of around 40.

The moment the pathological gambling has been admitted as a psychological disorder, different from other issues; intervention programs have been developed, such as ‚Responsible Gaming’, which features specific techniques and methods for recovering the people who have crossed the line between the pleasure gambling and the pathological gambling.

There are also useful the results connected to the participation of the pathological into support groups, which are succesful within the program that has stages taking the individual on the way out of the problem.

What should be underlined is that the therapy objectives, derived from the individual and group therapeutic methods are always focused on the possibility for change; besides the modification of the gambling behavior, there will be changes in the cognitive sub-layer, related to the fact that sooner or later the winning day will come and reverse their own life, thus magically solving their own problems.

Until next time, live free!

Articolul precedentHoroscope
Articolul următorA pack of artists at the fourth edition of the charitable event ‘Come to the restaurant… out of love for children’


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