Internet casino games are fun and enjoyable. But they can also cause gambling addiction. Gambling addiction is recognized as a disease and can harm people's financial independence or personal life. Therefore, both casinos and players should adhere to the principles of responsible gaming.
This page contains information about gambling addiction, how to detect and deal with it. You can also find recommendations on responsible gambling policy. Good online casino sites abide by it and help players enjoy gambling entertainment safely.
What is gambling addiction
Some gamblers, over time, begin to experience a craving for gambling entertainment. Gambling addiction is an uncontrollable desire to play and inability to stop, even if there is an understanding that it is necessary to do it. Gambling addicts understand that gambling brings harm, not pleasure, but continue playing.
Sometimes gaming addiction may have no effect on the duration of gaming sessions. However, it always has a negative effect on one's personal life and relationships with others.
In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association recognized addiction as a disease that has similarities to drug addiction. How is it formed?
- Winning stage. Very often the addiction to cheating begins with winning. After the first wins there is a desire to win more. At this time, the hobby of gambling does not seem to be a problem for the player and his loved ones. But gradually the hobby begins to become an obsession, and periodic winnings stimulate the pleasure centers in the brain.
- The losing stage. Stable winnings in online casinos are a priori impossible. That is why the period of losses begins after the victories. In this case, it is more difficult for the player to stop and take the money he has won, so he "plummets" and remains in deficit. At the losing stage, the user plays more and more for a long time and alone. Gradually, he gets more and more involved in the game process. In this case, the players often start borrowing money or looking for other ways to get money for betting. Debts grow and it becomes almost impossible to repay them.
- Desperation stage. This is when an obsession with gambling becomes a serious problem. Many gamblers begin to feel guilty and realize that it will be difficult or impossible to return to normal life. The desperation stage is characterized by a feeling of hopelessness and withdrawal if the player is unable to bet. The worst option here is trying to drown out the despair with alcohol or drugs.
These three stages develop linearly. But gaming addiction can work in cycles. Suppose a person passes the third stage and stops playing. Time passes and he calms down. However, there is always the possibility of encountering a trigger. This is an emotion or an external stimulus that will remind him of the pleasure of the game. After that, the person returns to gambling entertainment and the whole cycle repeats again.
The only way to stop completely is to acknowledge and understand addiction and consciously fight it.
How to cope with addiction?
Even pathological gambling addiction can be resisted. There are many different ways to do this. We will consider all the most effective ones.
- Problem Awareness. It all starts with a simple step - understand and acknowledge that your gambling addiction has become a problem and is interfering with your life. You need to see how life has changed for the worse because of it.
- Work through the process of dealing with addiction. Solving the problem will not be quick and easy. So assess the work ahead of you. Most importantly, don't despair and remember that you will succeed. Just as an addiction develops in 3 stages, you will overcome it in three stages. Start by taking a critical look at the problems and difficulties that have arisen. Take responsibility for them and think about how to proceed. Next, you need to engage in growth on yourself. You will be dealing with financial or personal problems and at the same time you will be working on your relationships with your family and friends.
Remember that this is who you are. You have strengths and weaknesses - learn to recognize and accept them. Once life without gambling begins, you will be able to live and grow. This is called the "growth stage".
- Self-Conflict. Many players find it hard to talk about their addiction. But there are a few steps you can take on your own. You can block your casino accounts and deny yourself access to gambling. If this is difficult, then introduce limits on deposit amounts or betting.
- Be sure to see a specialist. This can be done anonymously. And try to find a hobby that will help you not get bored and provide pleasant emotions.
Help from friends and family. Your family and people around you can always help you beat addiction. Talk to them and tell them about the problem. Agree to spend more time together. This will improve your relationship with your family and loved ones and take your mind off gambling. It's important to start rebuilding relationships with others as soon as possible.
Online chats and hotline calls. Today, you can easily get in touch with an expert who will help you go through the right steps to fight addiction. You don't even have to leave your home to do so. All you have to do is call or write to the online chat room. Such communication remains confidential, so it is easier for some players to decide on it. Moreover, such calls and chats are usually free, so there is no additional cost.
Anonymous support groups. This is a very effective way. The groups bring together people who have been through these problems. So they have an accurate picture of your condition and are willing to help you without blaming or blaming you for anything. In support groups, you will learn that the struggle is not useless. There is a solution and you will find it.
Professional help from psychologists and psychotherapists. Professional specialists can also help. Very often the cause of the addiction is hidden and you may simply not be aware of it. With their specialist knowledge and experience, psychologists and psychotherapists can help you through all stages of the fight against addiction, from awareness to a point of continuous growth over yourself.
Inpatient treatment and referral to rehabilitation centres. This is a solution for the most severe and pathological forms of gambling addiction, when a person is no longer aware of the consequences of their actions and decisions. Such centres provide round-the-clock care and support and completely exclude access to gambling. If there is no opportunity to bet, it becomes easier to overcome the harmful habit.
How to play it safe?
There are a few important thoughts that you should keep in mind when connecting to an online casino site.
- Gambling is not a way to make money. You cannot guarantee a stable income.
- Casino gaming is simply paid entertainment. A responsible player wants pleasant emotions and is willing to pay for it.
- Clearly define the amount of maximum loss and do not exceed it. This way you will save your wallet from disaster.
- Don't try to "at all costs" to get even immediately after a failure. After a loss, you are in a state of "affect" and may not be aware of your actions.
- Don't play with your last bit of money or borrowed money. There is no guarantee of winning, so you could end up in even more debt.
- Only bet money that you don't mind losing.
- Do not play online casino while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In such a case you cannot control your emotions and decisions.
- Don't try to run away from real life problems or bad moods through gambling.
- Keep track of how much time and money you spend at online casinos.
- Play only at honest and licensed casinos.
- Assess yourself for gaming addiction.
- Don't be afraid to seek help from professionals and loved ones if you feel that gambling is taking up too much of your time.
- Take advantage of the opportunity to self-lock your online casino account.
These tips are not a panacea, but will help avoid many mistakes. Remember that the fight against addiction should start the player himself.
Gambling Treatment Centres
Where can I get help with my gambling addiction? Good online casino sites always allow you to self-lock your account or set deposit and betting limits. They also have information on support services for addicted players.
You can contact federal clinics and community-based organizations. You can find their contacts on social media or search engines.