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Discovering everything about gambling addiction: warning signs, causes, and addiction prevention.

Jessica Hueber

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Zuletzt aktualisiert: 7. Dezember 2022
Fact checked by: Victor McClure
Fact-checked by: Victor McClure
Victor McClure - CEO

It is of utmost significance to me that the efforts of our team yield value to all gamblers out there. Our aim is for players to derive benefits from our articles and emerge wiser than before. Our team's work is dedicated to empowering players with knowledge that enhances their gambling experience. We strive for our content to be a source of enlightenment, equipping players with insights that elevate their gameplay. We are committed to providing informative articles that enable gamblers to make better decisions and improve their overall gambling prowess.

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Compulsive gambling is a genuine issue that can be just as severe as alcoholism. The signs of gambling addiction encompass the inability to quit playing, preoccupation with gambling, dishonesty regarding gambling, and many other indicators. If you suspect you might be addicted to gambling, there are resources available to assist you. Discover how to identify gambling addiction, what you can do about it, and much more in this informative piece!

What is gambling addiction?

According to the current World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), compulsive gambling behavior falls under the category of "Disorders of habits and impulse control" and is characterized by excessive gambling that significantly impacts the individual's lifestyle. Detrimental effects can be observed in all areas. Problem gambling or gambling addiction is the colloquial term used to describe the clinical condition known as pathological gambling.

The different types of gambling addiction

There are various ways to become addicted to gambling. Gambling addiction is often associated with traditional casino gambling or playing slot machines. However, casinos are not the only source of gambling addiction. The easy access to casinos and the allure of dark rooms filled with colorful lights and sounds can spark curiosity in many people. But online gambling is also gaining popularity, especially online slot games and online casinos. This form of gambling seems to have a higher potential for addiction because it is more anonymous than visiting a physical casino. Addiction to computer games and smartphone games does not fall under the category of gambling addiction unless there are monetary stakes involved. Online gambling is no longer limited to gambling provider websites but is increasingly offered in the form of tablet and smartphone apps. This makes access to gambling even easier and allows players to indulge their gambling urges anytime and anywhere.

What are the causes of gambling addiction?

In this section, let's explore the various origins of compulsive gambling. The addiction to gambling can stem from genetic, psychological, and biological factors. However, it is often the combination of several factors that contribute to the noticeable pattern of excessive gambling behavior.

Gambling addiction: genetic factors

One example of genetic factors is when one parent has been or is addicted to gambling. This previous experience of symptoms can also trigger gambling addiction in the offspring of the affected individual.

Gambling addiction: psychosocial factors

Other issues may be relevant as well, such as psychosocial factors. The individual in question seeks to distract themselves with gaming behavior, considering it as an escape from conflicts. On the flip side, the sense of accomplishment can also be addictive and trigger a gambling addiction.

Adversities in life can also make individuals more susceptible to pathological gambling, which can trigger a dependency on winnings. Such setbacks have the potential to increase the likelihood of engaging in compulsive gambling, fostering a state of reliance on monetary gains.

Gambling addiction: biological factors

Biological factors encompass susceptible traits such as anxieties, disorders, and low self-esteem. By engaging in games, the affected individual can find distraction and experience a sense of well-being. Impulsive behavior can also contribute to gambling addiction or gaming addiction. An increased propensity for risk-taking serves as a catalyst for the desire to play. Additionally, the rewards triggered by the neurotransmitter dopamine, which elicit pleasurable sensations and feelings of gratification, constitute a biological factor that influences individuals with a gambling addiction.

How can one identify a gambling addiction?

Individuals affected should personally assess their gambling habits to identify signs of a gambling addiction. Furthermore, family members, children, friends, or other relatives can identify a gambling addiction in a vulnerable individual by asking them a series of questions that pinpoint gambling habits leading to complications and challenging phases. The following circumstances should be examined:

  • The individual has played more frequently and with higher stakes.
  • The individual has utilized money, originally intended for other purposes such as savings, for gambling activities.
  • The individual attempts to downplay how frequently they play or how much money they spend.
  • The gaming habits have impacted the familiar or personal relationships.
  • The individual is unwilling to disclose the true extent of their gambling issue.

If you find yourself engaging in pathological gambling tendencies, it is crucial to seek professional assistance for an accurate diagnosis. Should any of the aforementioned indicators resonate with you, it is advisable to reach out to a counseling center for guidance. Additionally, the following signs may also point to an addiction or abuse of gambling:

  • Losing gives individuals the feeling of having suffered a personal defeat that they must make amends for.
  • The person's thoughts are consumed by gambling, and there is an internal urge to resume playing soon after quitting.
  • The individual continues playing until they run out of money.
  • To acquire more money for gambling, the individual in question has resorted to deception and cheating in the past.

The consequences of an online gambling addiction.

The addiction to gambling can result in various consequences.

Financial issues caused by gambling

Financial problems often plague individuals affected by gambling addiction as they seek to finance their gambling habits. Consequently, gambling addiction can result in accumulating debts. Many addicts often hold the misguided belief that they can recover their losses, which frequently leads to further gambling and financial losses. Moreover, seeking loans and borrowing money from friends and relatives is a common practice among addicts.

Threatened course of everyday life.

The irresistible urge to engage in gambling activities not only leads to substantial financial burdens but also results in the neglect of hobbies and other pursuits. Progress in one's professional life becomes stagnant, causing possible unemployment as a consequence.

The addictive behavior also affects the family.

The daily lives of families with addicted gamblers are undeniably impacted in a negative manner. As a result, children and other relatives have minimal interaction with the affected individual, receiving attention only in rare instances. This prevalent sense of loss begins to permeate their emotions.

Illnesses in those affected

Frequent manifestations of gambling addiction include alterations in personality, bouts of depression or depressive moods, anxiety disorders, and alcohol abuse. Additionally, panic reactions, feelings of shame, involvement in criminal activities, aggression, as well as suicidal ideation and a decline in self-esteem may occur in the later stages of compulsive gambling.

Therapy for gambling addiction: Causes and symptoms

For individuals who are at risk of falling into a gambling addiction or already require treatment, there are several avenues available to confront their issues. Below, we have compiled a list of options specifically for those struggling with compulsive gambling.

Advice on addiction problems

An initial consultation at an official counseling center can often be helpful in dealing with addictive behavior. For instance, the Federal Centre for Health Education provides various resources and assistance that can aid in breaking free from dependency. These include informative materials and supportive measures aimed at helping individuals regain their independence.

Therapy for gambling addiction

Individuals struggling with gambling addiction are advised to consider undergoing therapy to assist them in combating their addiction. Depending on the severity of the addiction, therapy for gambling addiction can be conducted on an outpatient or inpatient basis. If the person opts for outpatient therapy, they must gradually integrate new behaviors into their daily life.

Gambling forum

Forums dedicated to gambling addiction present an opportunity to connect with individuals who truly comprehend the challenges you are facing. Engaging with others who have undergone similar experiences can be highly enlightening, providing valuable insight into various treatment options. Establishing contact with individuals who exhibit signs of compulsive gambling can offer much-needed support and serve as a source of motivation.

Self-help groups

Participating in a support group can assist individuals struggling with gambling addiction in processing their experiences, issues, and emotions. By joining these groups, individuals can empathize with the sentiments of other addicts and share similar encounters. This fosters a sense of togetherness, enabling important tips to be provided for breaking the patterns of behavior permanently and avoiding relapses. In numerous instances, this approach has proven highly effective in tackling players' problems and finally renouncing gambling.

Looking for assistance with loved ones

Another option is to seek help from the player's surroundings. In this way, the family can assist in getting the gaming behavior under control. Of course, this is only possible if the player is fortunate enough to have a supportive environment. Otherwise, it can be challenging to combat gambling solely with the family. Medicine, a clinic, or addiction counseling have proven to be integral in facilitating recovery. However, especially in the initial stages, the family can still exert control over the gaming behavior.

How can one prevent gambling addiction?

Only the individual themselves can prevent their own gambling addiction. It is crucial to always bear in mind the consequences, as they can be devastating, such as the loss of trusted individuals, depression, and severe financial repercussions. Setting limits on both money and time is essential, and one should only engage in gambling when feeling comfortable. If the urge arises to escape a situation, it is not the appropriate moment. Furthermore, family, friends, and other significant individuals should always take precedence. Neglecting any professional responsibilities must also be avoided.

Our conclusion

Compulsive gambling is a multifaceted issue that demands serious attention. It is crucial not to underestimate its complexity. If you find yourself spending excessive amounts of time at the casino playing games like roulette and no longer experiencing any fear of losses, then it is high time to confront this problem head-on. In the worst-case scenario, seeking the help of a physician becomes imperative to prevent further severe consequences.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is gambling addiction treated?

    Depending on the severity of the addiction, loved ones, physicians, or a support group can provide assistance in breaking free from the grip of casinos or gambling halls. Numerous avenues exist to establish a balanced relationship with gaming. One can explore a multitude of approaches to fostering a healthy perspective on playing. Relatives, medical professionals, or even joining a self-help association can prove invaluable in overcoming the allure of casinos and gambling establishments. There are ample opportunities to cultivate a wholesome connection with the act of gaming.

  • Is there online counseling for gambling addiction?

    Yes, there are counseling centers available online as well. Online platforms also host support groups and forums that can provide assistance when gaming becomes excessive.

  • Why does playing games become addictive?

    Playing becomes addictive because in the game, there are always wins alongside the losses, which trigger positive feelings and a sense of accomplishment. Whether it's at the slot machine or in card games on online platforms, there is a quick opportunity to achieve winnings while playing.