Internet addiction is one of the sharpest problems facing humanity nowadays. This may occur due to the perception of the Internet as a means to satisfy numerous needs: fast and convenient access to information, establishment of contacts with other people by communicating in forums, correspondence and online conversations in social networks, etc. This can lead to the fact that people will spend more time on the Internet, preferring being on it to other activities. They may also experience an obsessive desire to return to the Internet. It is called Internet addiction.
The danger of Internet addiction is caused by inadequate perception of the Internet, whose use becomes an end in itself, the lack of Internet culture, insufficient application of measures aimed at preventing the occurrence of Internet addiction. The famous psychologist Kimberly Young identifies five major types of Internet addiction: cybersex addiction (desire to visit pornographic sites and be engaged in cybersex); virtual acquaintances; online gambling; endless surfing on the websites and search for information; addicted to computer games.
We are interested in problem gambling. Let's discuss where it comes from and how to avoid it. But firstly, we offer all our readers to get tested for gambling addiction. If you have more than seven answers "Yes", this article is for you.
- Have you ever missed work or classes to gamble?
- Have you ever felt unhappy after gambling?
- Has gambling ever badly affected your reputation?
- Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
- Have you ever gambled to pay off debts or solve your financial problems?
- Has gambling ever reduced your ambition or efficiency of work?
- Have you ever felt that it is necessary to return to gambling as soon as possible and get back what you have lost?
- Have you ever had a strong belief after the victory that it is necessary to return to gambling and win more?
- How often do you play until you lose everything?
- Have you ever gambled in debt?
- Have you ever sold anything to gamble?
- Do you have a concept of "money for playing" that you use only for gambling?
- Has gambling ever caused significant financial damage to you or your family?
- Have you ever gambled more than you have planned?
- Have you ever gambled to forget about troubles when you feel bored or lonely?
- Have you ever broken the law to get money for gambling?
- Have you ever had insomnia because of thoughts about gambling?
- Can problems and disappointment create a desire to get away from them by gambling?
- Are you in habit of celebrating your victories?
- Have you ever thought about suicide after a loss?
According to social studies conducted in the United States, problem gambling is diagnosed in 1-1.5% of the examined gamblers. We hope that percentage of problem gamblers is not higher among visitors of the portal casinoz.me. Let us check this. Please write in comments, how many times you answered "Yes". We think it will be interesting to all.
Formation of gambling addiction
Internet gambling causes addiction more frequently than playing offline, because it provides a more rapid effect and gives an opportunity to gamble alone. Youth are primarily captured by gambling, because of their immaturity, although people of mature age may show the tendency for gambling. Only a small number of addicted gamblers prefer specific types of gambling. Pathological gambling can be caused by a boredom and feeling of emptiness of life. Some players look for relaxation, others, on the contrary, search for strong emotions. Most players gamble to win, but some of them gamble to lose or make sure that they can win. Despite the fact that the authorities are trying to control gambling, it is legal in most countries. Therefore it is difficult to separate cultural features and disease.
The following criteria should be allocated to explain the mechanisms of this addiction: availability, control and excitement.
- Availability is explained by the fact that the invention of the Internet provides immediate access to many sites of virtual casinos, web pages with the most recent stock information, online stores, where customers can find almost everything. This makes Internet particularly attractive for gambling.
- Control means private management of player's own actions in cyberspace.
- Excitation is realized as obtaining peak emotional experiences that occur both in case of victory and loss.
Gambling addiction is particularly dangerous because the person is able to spend a very large amount of money in a short period of time, failing to realize what is happening. This kind of Internet addiction is accompanied by excessive emotional involvement in gambling, the desire to devote more time to gambling activities. Formation of addition is accompanied by the fact that a person changes a range of interests, placing gambling in the forefront. The primary motives of gambling activities are also changed: if earlier the participation in online gambling was used for entertainment, later gambling would become the main way to meet the needs of the individual. Thoughts about gambling appear more and more often, become elements of obsession, an individual keeps in his mind the different play patterns, even in everyday life.
It is difficult for such a person to go out of the game, regardless of whether he wins or loses, since even short intervals during gambling cause discomfort, restlessness and anxiety. This leads to the fact that people spend more and more time to gamble. They have the desire to play more risky, it becomes harder and harder to resist the temptation to resume the game.
Formation of problem gambling is facilitated by the fact that at the beginning of gambling people get positive emotions in case of victories. Gambling starts being perceived as a safe tool that can be used for entertainment and leisure. The strong desire to try again and win more may arise, because the victory is accompanied by excitation and saturation with positive emotional experiences. There is the desire to take risks, fantasies about spending the money. An individual begins to like the feeling of adrenaline when he is making bets.
The situation is somewhat different when a person begins to steadily lose. If the addiction has been formed, then, despite the significant losses and material costs, the person is no longer able to stop, as gambling has become the center of his life. The desire to get back what he has lost constantly accompanies the gambler, displacing all other interests and forcing to forget about the responsibilities at home or at work. The euphoria does not appear as a result of victories, and in the gap between the bet and the result.
So, the person continues to receive vivid emotions from gambling and desire to win becomes particularly obsessive. In such a situation, it becomes difficult to concentrate the attention, which leads to rash steps, unnecessary risk and, as a consequence, a significant loss of money. The need for gambling becomes the leading desire and makes people forget even the satisfaction of biological needs, such as eating and sleeping. This leads to physical exhaustion, considerable fatigue, emotional instability, rupture of relations with the surrounding society; it can have serious consequences for the health and psychic and emotional state of the person.
If the addiction is not removed at this stage, it will become deeper and may completely ruin the social life of the person who suffers from the irresistible desire to stay in game and is not able to focus on something else. Being "out of the game" he experiences stress, anxiety and can suffer from depression. The relationships in the family are ruined. The ability to perform professional duties is greatly reduced. Thus, at the late stage of Internet addiction people feel lonely, unemployed and they may have financial problems. Gambling for the last money can provoke feelings of guilt and cause stress. But at this stage addicted gambler is no longer able to relieve stress by anything else than gambling, so he begins to look for money, take money in debt and take out a loan to get back what he has lost and relieve stress. This leads to the fact that he has more debts and can not pay them. Therefore, the gambler is facing serious problems that he can not solve. Gambling is the meaning of life and everything else is perceived as a minor thing and does not deserve much attention.
If an individual suddenly has a desire for adventures, he can meet his desires, searching for the corresponding society. When there is a need for peace and quiet, you can also search for the proper society. Pathological gamblers are deprived of the ability to look for their needs in real life. They do not have patience, they are not able to establish emotionally close and reliable relationships and maintain them. All spheres of their life are subject to one thing, i.e. gambling, as well as getting funds for it, while their emotions are characterized by a feeling of emptiness and lack of meaning. It is believed that the psychological deficiency causes the addicted behavior. People with problem gambling very often feel themselves dependent on the will of others, but in reality they are trying to keep everyone under control.
Signs of problem gambling
The major signs of problem gambling are the following:
- constant focusing on the game, for example, memories about recent games, planning the next games, or thinking about ways to get money for gambling;
- unwillingness to distract from gambling;
- anxiety and irritation due to forced distraction;
- loss of sense of time and the inability to plan finishing playing;
- spending a lot of money on this hobby;
- attempts to get back money that has been lost the next day after a loss (the pursuit of the lost);
- rejection of doing household chores and professional duties in favor of gambling;
- neglect of health, hygiene and sleep in favor of gambling;
- coffee and other stimulants abuse;
- willingness to eat monotonous food irregularly and randomly without making breaks for meal;
- feeling of emotional excitement while gambling;
- discussion of games with all the familiar people or, on the contrary, isolation.
- relatives and friends no longer keep trying to persuade you to reduce the time you spend on gambling;
- amount of money and time spent on gambling increases with time.
Causes of gambling addiction
The desire to get adrenaline and strong emotions is the reason that drives people to gamble, then the body gets used to the constant production of adrenaline and needs to increase the dose, i.e. it requires more and more excitement to satisfy its needs.
Analysis the factors that may serve as triggers for the appearance of online gambling addiction allows selecting the following ones: a collection of certain personal characteristics, features of the interaction of an individual and society, the presence of the constant stress in life, features of relations in the family where the gambler grew up, as well as properties of Internet environment.
1. Collection of certain personal characteristics.An inadequate self-esteem when a person seeks to improve both the attitude to himself and an image, which is composed when other people are communicating with him, can be the reason for gambling addiction. An individual feels more confident and relaxed while playing online games, so he expects the approval from others. This is especially noticeable in adolescence and youth, where wariness is condemned and seen as cowardice. In addition, gambling in the case of victories allow a young man to improve his financial position, buy fashionable clothes, accessories, which makes it possible to stand out among others and gain popularity among other teenagers. Thus, participation in online gambling allows them to show the qualities that are considered valuable in the youth subculture, namely recklessness, courage, excitement, independence.
A motivation of adults may be the desire to get rid of an inferiority complex due to the self-persuasion in their own genius, evidenced by victories. The player has the belief that he can change his life for the better and achieve respect from others, if his financial situation will be improved due to gambling.
Another reason of the ludomania development is the lack of capacity for self-regulation. This usually manifests in emotional instability, loss of self-control, prevalence of irrational actions on balanced and considered. Such gamblers are unable to cope with their negative feelings and emotions, so in order to get rid of them, they use gambling as a distraction. But the way out of the problem situation can not be found with the help of gambling and it takes on a systematic character and turns into addiction.
2. Features of the interaction of an individual and society.
Another reason for gambling addiction is a specificity of interaction of humans with
society, i.e. the difficulties with building relationships with other people, isolation and loneliness. Such people feel rejection from others, resulting in insecure feelings and suffering from increased anxiety. They use gambling as a means to win other people, to become a part of their group, if gambling is common in the society where they live. An individual also believes that the availability of money will make him more attractive to others, raise his prestige and popularity, which makes him bet more in the hope of obtaining a significant victory.
3. Presence of the constant stress in life.
The presence of numerous stress situations may also be a cause of gambling addiction. In this case, the primary motivation that causes a person to gamble online is the desire to escape from reality. Gambling is considered as a means to remove the psychological tension, to plunge into an alternate reality, where an individual feels comfortable and confident, and to forget about problems that bother him. Adrenaline rush that a gambler may feel while betting, makes him feel the excitement, and the belief in the victory makes the attitude to the future more optimistic. Gamblers dream about spending money, experiencing the pleasure of being in the world
of fantasies. Thus, gambling is used to get rid of negative emotions and plunge into the world in which a person feels well and believes in his success.
4. Features of relations in the family.
The specifics of the relationship in the family where the future gambler was growing up, can also affect the occurrence of gambling addiction. If a child has grown up with an idea that the greatest value in life is money, he will seek to improve his financial situation and gambling may seem especially attractive to him,
because there is no need to work and make any efforts. It is just necessary to rely on luck and win a large sum of money. The development of the addiction is also provoked by members of the family who are gamblers themselves and this situation is considered as normal. At the same time a cyclic mechanism of ludomania can not be destroyed by the contemplation of the negative influence of gambling on the relatives if they are already addicted.
5. Properties of Internet environment.
Properties of the Internet environment that may be triggers of gambling addiction include availability and anonymity. Free access to online gambling makes it particularly attractive, because people can satisfy their needs for excitement
at any time without leaving home. Anonymity removes the fear of being recognized, especially if relatives and friends do not approve this passion. Thus, the Internet leads to disappearance of barriers and conventions, which allows the individual to realize his desires. Gambling is considered as an affordable, safe and exciting. This often encourages people to visit sites with gambling games and eventually leads to addiction.
Stages of gambling addiction
The process of the appearance of gambling addiction encompasses several stages. So, it starts with the first victory, which serves as a positive confirmation. At this stage, gambling is not systematic, and its motivation includes a desire to have fun, diversification of life and attempts to try something new and interesting. If the first such attempts are accompanied by losses, gambling activity disappears. Even a little prize evokes positive emotions, sense of satisfaction and adrenaline rush.
At the next stage, the person starts playing more often, he has euphoria, anticipating victories, which seem inevitable. He experiences positive emotions, confidence in success. However at this stage, bets are still small, and gambling is considered as a way to have fun.
In the future, gambling begins to take up more time in human life with the formation of strong needs in gambling, emotions and feelings that are evoked by it. The desire to play arises spontaneously and is very obsessive, and even losses do not reduce this desire, because the gambler is convinced of the possibility to win. If the gambler fails to get back what he has lost, and he is facing financial difficulties that force him to temporarily give up gambling, he has a sense of anxiety, depression, irritability, increased aggressiveness. All this in turn affects the relationships with relatives and friends, creating conflict situations. An individual distances himself from them, which will further exacerbate the degree of negative emotional state. In this case, the victory is perceived as a solution to all problems, and it encourages the gambler to spend all his savings, borrow money or take out a loan.
If the series of losses continues, it can lead to extreme poverty, destruction of relationships with the family and friends, who also suffer from the way of life of the addicted gambler. Only at this stage he starts realizing that he is doing something wrong. He begins to feel guilty and seeks to stop playing. However
he can not stop gambling anymore, periods when the gambler avoids gambling are replaced by disruptions, even greater losses or spending large amounts of money. Usually during this period the gambler has already have a lot of debt, which he can not give. He is already unemployed, because constant thoughts about games do not allow him to focus on the performance of professional functions. As a result the addicted gambler suffers from depression and loneliness. His aggressiveness and irritability pushes away relatives and friends.
The American researcher R.Kaster identified three stages of gambling addiction:
- Stage of victories . It is characterized by the following features: random playing; frequent victories; imagination precedes and accompanies gambling; an increase in bet size; fantasies about victories; very big winning; irrational optimism.
- Stage of losses . This stage is characterized by the following things: gambling alone; boasting of victories; thinking only about gambling; episodes of losses, which become longer; inability to stop gambling; lies and cover-up of the problem from friends; decrease in care of the family; reduction of working hours in favor of playing and failure to pay debts. Changes of personality may include: irritability, fatigue, unsociability; severe emotional aura of the house; borrowing money for gambling; both legal and illegal large debts; inability to pay debts; desperate attempts to stop gambling.
- Stage of disappointment . Signs of disappointment stage include: loss of professional and personal reputation; significant increase in time spent on gambling, considerable increase in bet size; distancing from family and friends; reproaches of conscience; remorse; hatred towards others; panic; hopelessness; thoughts of suicide; arrest; divorce; alcohol abuse; emotional disturbances.
Thus, problem gambling is dangerous for humans, because it causes an alteration of social ties and psyche. The cause of this disorder is not fully understood. Unfortunately, the completely formed gambling addiction is irreversible. A person who suffers from gambling addiction needs the psychological help.
How to get rid of gambling addiction
It has been known that any disease is easier to prevent than to treat. The most important things for preventing online gambling addiction are educational activities aimed at expanding understanding of personality based on peculiarities of gambling addiction, stages of its formation and adverse impact that it has. It is exactly the thing that we are doing now:) Do not gamble a lot, limit the amount of money for gambling, get pleasure from the process and try not to give in to excitement.
But if suddenly you still belong to 1-1.5% of players who have become addicted gamblers, you need to receive qualified psychological help. The elimination of gambling addiction must take into account the specific reason that caused it and it should be aimed at it removal. The person usually can not understand why he has decided to do one or another thing.
The first thing is to realize your problem and gain the motivation to get rid of ludomania. Typically, gamblers initially cope with the problem alone, as their attitude towards treatment from a psychologist is quite skeptical. They agree to go to the doctor only after repeated attempts and failures. Do not repeat these mistakes. The sooner you visit the competent psychologist who is specialist in gambling, the less you will ruin your life. The specialist will optimize your self-esteem, adjust the motivation to use objects of addiction for self-affirmation. The good psychologist will help harmonize your interpersonal relationships with others. This will reduce the desire to plunge into the virtual reality to satisfy your needs. Individual counseling and training in groups can be used for such purposes. It is also efficient to use family counseling in the case when
the cause of the addiction is the development of family problems.
If for some reason you can not or do not want to see a psychologist, you can try to find help using the online platform Gambling Therapy (https://www.gamblingtherapy.org/). It provides people who suffer from gambling addiction with psychological support and assistance. The service was founded in 2004 and used a set of online resources to help gamblers. Its staff includes the team of professionals whose qualification allows solving the problems with gambling. Gambling Therapy offers support, information and advices in 28 languages. Any person from all over the world can take advantage of this site. Here are some services that are offered:
- forums (available 24 hours per day);
- support groups with moderator;
- support groups without moderator (available only at the weekend and on holiday);
- personal assistance (12.00. to 8.00 p.m. Moscow time, as well as additional hours);
- E-mail support (E-mail can be sent 24 hours per hour);
- many informational resources for gamblers who suffer from problem gambling.
All services are anonymous. The team of online advisors makes all efforts to help addicted people, and, uses other sources of assistance, if necessary. One of the members of the forum Gambling Therapy left a comment:
I believe that this site was sent to me by Providence. I would never have achieved such results without it. My sincere thanks to the organizers of this resource.
Try it, it's a very good chance.
Online gambling addiction is an important and urgent problem, since its consequences include the destruction of interpersonal relations, deformation in the structure of personality, bankruptcy and unavailability to pay off debts. This affects all areas of person's life. Correction of ludomania should be based on the identification of the main factor that was decisive in the development of addiction and it is necessary to overcome this factor.