How to deal with gambling addiction?
Gambling addiction is one of the most dangerous addictions because a person who has it can hide it very well and almost never asks for help. We talked with a child psychologist and found out why gambling addiction appears, at what age it happens, and how to deal with it.
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Psychologist thoughts on gambling addiction
One of the forms of gambling addiction is addiction to video games and addiction to gambling. But today, due to the development of online casinos and the gamification of gambling, the boundaries between different forms of gambling addiction are rapidly blurring.
Quarantine also played a huge role in the development of gambling addiction among a wide range of users. As a result, more and more people stay at home and solve their problems through gambling.
Moreover, gambling addiction is becoming more common among children and adolescents. Modern computer games offer their users paid purchases – the so-called “loot boxes” or “donations”. In some countries, these types of purchases in video games are already equated with full-fledged gambling.
Earlier, we wrote about what gambling addiction is, what are its key features and how to deal with it. This time we talked with the child and family psychologist and found out at what age children get gambling addiction most often, why it happens, and what to do to treat this addiction.
About periods of addiction
Like any other addiction, gambling addiction does not appear immediately. In adolescence, very often many people begin to like different forms of play, and at this time the child does not have an understanding of what this is fraught with.
The psychologist said:
“In my practice, there have been cases when such an addiction occurred in children aged 8-9 years. At the same time, they become very aggressive, they begin to smash everything around when they are not allowed to play. This aggression, impulsivity, an increased level of anxiety, and a tendency to immerse in the virtual world can contribute to the development of gambling addiction,”
According to her words, the average period for the formation of gambling addiction is from one to three years.
The key stage is when a person achieves something in the game for the first time and receives a win. It is at this time a child feels the sense of realization in life, by earning money. However, people should always remember that any type of video game, including gambling, is only a way of entertainment, but not a way of making money.
The psychologist explained:
“A person cannot always understand the consequences of his actions, he falls into addiction. An illusion arises that something depends on his actions. If in a casino people are allowed to win so that they feel this moment – in modern video games there are so-called “donations,” or paid purchases. Both children and adults can donate, and often users do not control the difference between the funds won and spent”
Often children and adolescents can steal money from their parents or borrow from their friends to play. Adults can get into debt.
The psychologist said:
“The final stage is a systematic game where a person loses interest in real life. Adults are no longer interested in their family, the child is no longer interested in his studies, relationship problems arise. A different circle of contacts appears with people in Internet communities who also play,”
Gambling addicts regularly deceive their loved ones and abuse their trust.
About the causes of addiction
The psychologist Goltsberg said:
“A person becomes addicted to emotions during the game when he gets adrenaline from it. The hormone dopamine is responsible for the formation of addictions, which is responsible for obtaining pleasure, ”
In addition to the characteristics of a person’s character, and other psychological factors, among the reasons for the development of gambling addiction, there may also be children’s fantasies, fears, or the development of some kind of aggression.
For example, children with communication deficits are likely to start playing while their parents are at work or busy with their own business.
The psychologist said:
“The most interesting thing is that parents can also often be addicted, for example, on social networks. The child forms his behavior on the basis of this, ”
The reason for the escape from reality can be family conflicts: in order to escape from problems, children just start playing, and this, of course, does not improve the situation.”
Among other reasons for gambling addiction, there may be various psychological disorders, social phobias, due to which a person is afraid of interpersonal relationships and gradually takes on other roles.
Do not forget about financial factors. The dominance of advertising of illegal online casinos and gambling platforms, which guarantee winnings and promise regular earnings, force both children and adults to turn to the game in the hope of improving their well-being.
How to treat?
Have more time with family
The psychologist said:
“As a rule, people with gambling addiction do not ask for help from specialists on their own. When loved ones see that a person has lost interest in family, study, work, or life in general, they try to help them. Most often this happens when a person’s addiction begins to interfere with loved ones.”
Determine the cause
The most important thing in treating gambling addiction is determining its causes. Sometimes, fixing a problem in relationships with loved ones can help a person get rid of the addiction. In the case of children, psychologists advise giving them the opportunity to communicate more with their parents.
Make small steps
“There is no quick cure for gambling addiction. The main methods are the method of substitution or the method of small steps, which provide a gradual decrease of time spent on games. This can be very effective, but it takes a long time. And often when such methods are implemented, breakdowns occur, ” says the child and family psychologist.
Give something in return
Any addiction assumes that it is impossible to take from a person a part of his life without giving him any important things in return. In the case of gambling addiction, it is very difficult to replace with something vivid emotions and impressions from the very process of the game, and even more from the winnings.
The psychologist said:
“Here it is important to establish the daily routine as soon as possible, to restore sleep because gamblers like to play at night, when no one interferes, add physical activity. Treatment for gambling addiction is a lengthy process that does not allow a one-time visit to a psychologist to solve anything, ”
The psychologist is sure that the process of treating addiction is the work of the whole family that surrounds a person. And if loved ones do not participate in this, it is almost impossible to cope with their addiction on their own.
About the consequences
In addition to wasting a significant amount of time and money, gambling addiction often leads to the development of serious psychological problems. In bad cases – to the development of depression and suicidal moods.
The consequences of gambling addiction are the loss of all contacts, just like in the case of alcohol or drug addiction. When a person is addicted, a player is isolated from society to some extent voluntarily or, for example, when society itself rejects him.
Aggressive forms of addiction are regularly encountered among gambling addicts. So the efforts of loved ones, including their patience, recommendations of doctors and psychologists are important.
It is important for loved ones not to leave such a person alone with a problem because he is unlikely to be able to help himself. You need to try in every possible way to pull him out of this situation. The help of loved ones, their support, the ability to withstand the stress associated with the desire to continue playing is extremely important.
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