Pathological gambling-related issues
Certain people are born being prone to addiction.
We are all a mixture of physiological, education, control needs to the point that the addiction issue is customized and the possibility to change something involves a strong motivation, tailored on each personality type.
Gambling is an ordinary entertainment, an exciting and dynamic way of risk assumption. It is legally played in especially equipped rooms, from a poker game in a Las Vegas casino or to a slot machine in a bar or in the gambling rooms. The betting, lottery tickets, bingo are another possibilities where hazard is the essential component.
As in any other addiction, this one can also be dealt with; hence, the steps that a dependent person should take are talked about in the rows here and later in the ones patiently waiting in my mind to be laid down. My profession of psychologist has given me the opportunity to stay close to these people and guide them to take the ‘first steps’ and cross the line.
When gambling becomes trouble
It is essential to make the difference between the ‘social players’ and the ‘compulsive players’.
Very many people spend their time in the gaming rooms and do it as entertainment, with no unwanted consequences, for their entire life. They are called social players, who see the game as amusement, are aware of how much time and money they need to play and whether they want they will be able to stop playing for a long time or for good.
The compulsive players, on the other hand, lose control over themselves and keep playing even though they are going through negative circumstances.
What I consider extremely decisive for the ones in trouble is that they must become mindful about the fact that they are not alone in this world and other people have walked their path before.
A reason why gambling generates addiction is the euphoria coming out of it. It is a way of escaping from the daily problems and pressure.
Another element that fascinates the compulsive players is the belief that they will not only gain back the money they had lost, but also much more besides it.
Here are some features for the compulsive players: they spend more than they can afford; they talk a little about their gambling habit; they see gambling as a method to face their problems; they misspend; they feel the need to gamble all the time; their social and family life are altered.
The features for the social players: they do not exceed a certain budget for playing; gambling is entertainment; they can stop playing anytime they decide; they have a time limit to spend in the gaming room and they will not cross it; when they feel blue, they do not desire to play; the social and family life are intact.
Not all the compulsive players behave the same, they do not fall into the same category, have diverse life experiences. Some of them develop their problems in time, others feel the gambling disorders right away.
To give an example, Marian is a businessman whose family life is wonderful.
He has always liked playing poker in a bar close to his house. Due to his job stress, he became addicted. He started spending too much money and time at that lounge bar and changed the game into a means to get over stress. Recently, Marian has realized that he is a compulsive gambler, as he had been unable to stop playing and his social life started to wrench. He turned for assistance to the helpline where I coordinate the ‘Responsible Gaming’ programme, supported by Romanian Bookmakers and Romslot. He is a regular attendee to the psychotherapy and better and better behavioral results are visible.
Another example is Alice’s, who makes bets, likes it a lot and perceives it as a way to hang out with her friends. Alice is a social player and gaming is not a troubling issue for her.
What is the reason that makes the compulsive gambler keep going?
The question ‘Why am I playing?’ is asked quite often. To get back the money you lost? Because I hope that I will make an awfully lot of money? To avoid the responsibility of the daily grind? Is the risk a turn-on for me? Do I want to feel elated? Or to keep a close check on the depression or anxiety?
Consequences of the pathological gambling
Gambling can have a major negative impact, as it could turn into a 24/7 obsession for some people. The developments are such as isolation; the deterioration of the personal relationships; devouring time and money in the gaming rooms for people whose sole objective is gambling; loans from family and friends; theft and debts; lies to justify the money being lost and for finding other financial resources; job setbacks; loss of any involvement in other daily activities; a low self-esteem; use of other means to face to debt-related concern, such as alcohol abuse, heavy smoking, etc.
The compulsive players can enter a spiral of the destructive behavior. The GamCare statistics, a similar programme with ‘Responsible Gaming’ shows that the anxiety and stress level for the players calling the helpline is of 40%, which matches the number in our experience of our support programme dedicated to the addiction in the compulsive gambling.
The negative effect of the pathological gambling is the money owed to others. A percentage of 15 of the people calling us are in major debt and 42 in moderate deficit.
At the beginning of the article, we were talking about the first steps, so let’s start with the earliest, which is the ‘minute’.
An important minute in your life can bring you notable changes. Just stop for a minute and think of a change that you have done in your life. How did you do it? What were the benefits? What resources did you use? This is how you will acknowledge these resources, namely the skills that enabled you to bring this change in your life. There were of course moments when the compulsive gambling was not one of your worries.
When you are on the verge of losing something that really matters for you, you can prove a remarkable self-control.
Remember those moments, recall how you made the change that brought about the success and use those memories to build in your mind the person you really want to be.
Make a list of the moments when you were successful and how proud you were of you, even though those moments seem trivial.
What would your life be without the compulsive gambling? What would be different? For example, you would feel an accomplished and self-assured person, have more time to socialize, ability to control your itch to play, without giving in to it, etc.
It is more than obvious that it will become easier to have the command over this habit – you must follow all the steps I will be talking about in the next articles.
Until then, live free!
As the time is around the winter holidays, I wish you a wonderful time and joy galore. And may the next year be one of the best!