In the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), gambling addiction, or gambling, is assigned the code F63.0. The love of gambling is the same addiction as drug addiction or alcoholism. How it manifests itself and where the legs grow from gambling addiction – about this in our material.
The gods played dice
Gambling did not appear yesterday, but many thousands of years ago. The first reliable mentions of them are found around 3500 BC. NS. in Ancient Egypt. Archaeologists find figurines depicting gods and people playing grandmothers – talus bones or interphalangeal joints of a sheep or dog. What’s more: such objects were also found at the sites of ancient people. Both the ancient Greeks and the Roman emperors, especially Augustus and Claudius, loved the game. Not to mention the Germans, who lost at the dice not only their property, but also freedom: the loser was simply sold into slavery.
Things were no better in Asia. In the sacred Sanskrit text of Hinduism Bhavishya Purana, which dates back to 3000 BC. e., tells about a certain prince, who, thanks to the game, lost both his fortune and his wife. Although for Asian legends it is common to lose a wife, daughter, and even parts of one’s own body.
The North American Indians, and even more so the Europeans, were fond of the game. The first device for playing roulette appeared in France in 1765, the first casino (translated from Italian – “country house”) in 1863 was opened by the Prince of the Principality of Monaco Charles Grimaldi, and the first slot machine, today called the “one-armed bandit”, was invented by an American mechanic – also Charles, but by the name of Fey – in 1895.
They tried to fight the game – first the Church, then the state, or all together. But it was not finally possible to defeat her. This is understandable: the point here is not so much the promise of quick money, but a real psychological dependence.
What is gambling? According to the ICD-10 definition, this is a pathological tendency, which “consists in frequent repeated episodes of participation in gambling, which dominates in the life of the subject and leads to a decrease in social, professional, material and family values, when due attention is not paid to responsibilities in this area” …
There are many characteristics of gambling addiction. According to the American Classification of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV, 1994), it is enough for a person to have five out of ten characteristics that match.
1. A person is keen on the game and always returns to it in his thoughts, deliberately tries to give up gambling or, on the contrary, looks forward to another opportunity; thinks over options – where to get money for the game;
2. Does not stop the game with an ever increasing volume of bets. He is warmed up by the increasing acuteness of sensations;
3. More than once made attempts to overcome his passion for the game;
4. Comes into the world of the game to escape from the real world: to escape from internal and external problems (relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression, and so on);
5. Returns to the game the next day after losing in order to be able to win back (while the thought of losing does not give him rest);
6. Shows anxiety and irritability if he plays less or completely refuses to play;
7. Lies to family, doctors and other people so as not to show his addiction;
8. A person had to commit illegal actions: he went to fraud, theft, forgery and the like in order to find means for the game;
9. Threatens and is even ready to break off relations with family, relatives and friends, quit work or school in the name of the game;
10. If, because of the game, he loses money to support himself and his family, shifts the solution of problems to others;
Most often men suffer from addiction to the game, but it is more difficult for women (however, like any other form of addiction: for example, women get drunk faster, become drug addicts, it is more difficult for them to overcome addiction). Their passion for the game occurs three times faster, and it is less responsive to treatment. And ladies also get into the gambling network at a more mature age, and their reasons for that are different than those of men. Gambling in women, as a rule, is accompanied by depression, in men – alcoholism. Although people addicted to gambling, in principle, often combine many types of addictions – both alcoholism and drug addiction. It is clear that all this leads to sad consequences: the players are characterized by quarrels with family and friends, divorce and frequent job changes.
There are many roots, evil is one
The reasons for the development of gambling addiction are tangled, like quantum states. Just like the reasons for any other addiction – drug, alcohol or love. An important role in the formation of addiction is played by the specific situation that has developed in the family and environment of a particular person. Although there are certain factors that contribute to the emergence of gambling.
First of all, it is simply the availability of gambling and their advertising on the Internet, on TV, in the media. Another factor is called motivational. People prone to gambling addiction are divided into two types: the first is the “action” players (in the game they satisfy the need for domination, risk, prove their superiority over others). The second type is characterized by the fact that in the course of the game it moves away from reality, from losses and losses that can occur in reality. Of course, all this is reinforced by curiosity, interest in new sensations, the motivation to win money and the excitement that gives rise to excitement.
The family factor plays a huge role in the formation of gambling addiction and, above all, the painful building of relationships with loved ones, which generally gives rise to any types of addictions. Due to improper upbringing, a person becomes psychologically weak and vulnerable, therefore he cannot resist reality, leaving it in the game or trying to prove something to himself and others with its help.
The character is formed under the influence of the environment and, above all, of the person’s family. But there are genetic factors and the notorious influence of circumstances. Therefore, addiction specialists also highlight the personality factor.
A person may have traits inherent in a potential player: low self-esteem, intolerance to refusal of requests, an overreact to criticism, increased anxiety, a tendency to depression, impulsivity, a thirst for risk, intolerance of disappointment, a desire to feel their own power, a tendency to mystical thinking.
Such character traits help to form irrational attitudes in the future gambling addict, which psychologists call errors of thinking. First of all, this is the belief that money solves all problems, including in communication between people; that self-doubt can be overcome by winning success; a person presents bets as a kind of transaction; believes that debts can be returned only by recouping; and that he knows how to control himself not only in matters of whether to play or not, but also in whether he can refrain from not putting everything that he has on the line.
The economic factor is also important, which forms the attractiveness of gambling in the mass consciousness. It is clear that this is being done for the benefit of gambling corporations that use advertising and hidden influence on the mass consciousness for such purposes. Attitudes are formed that a gambling lifestyle is cool and prestigious, that “our whole life is a game,” a dismissive attitude towards people who are not involved in the game and contempt for the usual way of earning money are encouraged. Psychologists identify the following family factors in the formation of gambling addiction:
– Violation of psychological boundaries between generations (in the family there are no vowel or unspoken “rules” that would regulate the relationship between older and younger family members, or, on the contrary, they are too rigid);
– Adults do not have effective models of behavior in society, therefore they cannot set an example for children;
– Family members do not have clear roles, therefore there are no designated rights and responsibilities;
– There are double standards in reactions to similar behavior of a child (if he stole something in a store, he is scolded, if he stole something from rich people, they praise him because “they just need it”);
– There is an inconsistency in the attitudes of different family members (the latter have different opinions on raising children and do not try to agree among themselves);
– The family budget is inadequately planned (without taking into account the needs of all family members, the emphasis is only on the priorities of one person);
From euphoria to prison
Game addiction does not develop immediately, but gradually. Specialists in gambling addiction distinguish several stages.
At this time, a person only has a susceptibility to gambling: this is facilitated by the above factors, as well as the influence of the environment in which material values are extolled first of all, and not the traditional human attitude towards each other;
A person begins to play and, thanks to developed magical thinking and lack of critical thinking, lack of education and poorly formed logic, gains faith in his luck. The gains (they can be not only large, but also small) make him think about his power, create the illusion of control over himself and the world that is so lacking for him, form an overestimated self-esteem. During this period, a person literally revels in the game and is absorbed in it so much that he does not see any dangers.
A person completely goes into the game, which becomes the center of his life, family and work fade into the background. A vicious circle emerges: to enter the game – to lose – to get into debt – to hide – to start playing again in order to win back. And so it is constantly. As the disease progresses, these cycles are repeated more frequently. The addict begins to deceive others, ceases to fulfill his duties, such qualities as irritability and increased fatigue, secrecy and malice appear. Even if a person wins, he is not satisfied with this amount, he wants more and more, in the end he loses everything. It is then that he begins to realize his illness and look for an opportunity to overcome it – by willpower to stop playing. As a rule, he does not succeed.
Complete collapse of life: the gambling addict accumulates a huge number of debts, those close to him turned away from him. As a result, he completely withdraws into himself, he can start drinking alcohol. This stage is also characterized by frequent emotional breakdowns. All free time, as before, is concentrated on the game: a person still hopes to win back by paying off all his debts in one fell swoop. The stage of hopelessness.
The gambler loses the last thing he has – the hope of winning. But he still continues to play – by inertia, just for the sake of participation. At this stage, he is likely to be arrested (due to criminal acts that he has already committed or continues to commit) or death: he can be killed for debt or he will die from an overdose of alcohol and drugs.
A person goes through all these stages quickly – in just one and a half or three years – although sometimes the case can drag on for ten years. But in general, to destroy – morally or physically – a full-fledged healthy person, the game will take very little time.