The game is an activity that is often sociable that millions of people enjoy. Since most people participate in the game due to fun, they only spend smaller amounts and play sporadically. Playing in this context is nothing more than a popular hobby. Unfortunately, this hobby can also cause problems, especially gambling addiction. To protect players from addiction, it is important that there is also readily available information about gambling addiction on the Internet, which allows players to capture their own addictive potential and take action against it.

Therefore, we will help you in this guide to understand the problem, know the various forms of addiction to the game, identify signs of addiction to the game and find steps to get out of addiction. We will also provide contacts to organizations that work to combat gambling addiction.

What is gambling addiction?

Gambling addiction is one of the disorders of impulse control. Like other impulse control disorders such as addiction or food addiction, gambling addiction suppresses the natural impulses that cause other people to stop performing their activities. It can happen that people with impulse control disorders harm themselves or the environment.

When talking about gambling addiction, you must identify different facets and characteristics. Not all people who suffer from gambling addiction, therefore, have the same symptoms or experience a comparable intensity of these symptoms.

These are some of the most common forms of gambling addiction:

Compulsive gambling: this is probably the classic example of gambling addiction. A person suffering from compulsive gambling cannot resist his desire to play. This type of player will continue to play, win or lose. Profits become an incentive to earn more and losses lead to “recover” them through profits. Such a player often plays with money he cannot lose. In extreme cases, these players even borrow to continue playing. This form of game addiction is also called pathological game.
Excess play: this type of game addiction is very similar to compulsive gambling, but only occurs in explosions. A player who surrenders to excess play plays irregularly and cannot play for weeks or months before starting to play again. Here, this player knows no limits and often plays for hours, usually without a fixed budget planning.
Game problem: if a player has not reached the stage of obsessive play, but his game habits have a negative impact on his life outside the game, he has a game problem. However, this can still be controlled if detected early. The signs of a game problem are lies about gains and losses and losses by “running away”.

How common is gambling addiction?

To assess the scale of the problem, it is important to find significant statistics. But that is difficult, because such statistics can only be collected voluntarily. Those affected by gambling addiction must have identified their own gambling addiction and be honest enough to report it. However, many attempts have been made in the recent past to capture this data. Interestingly, the results of these studies usually coincide with relative accuracy.

Most studies find that the relative number of game addicts is about 2-3%, and about 1% falls into the category of compulsive gambling. Of course, these figures depend largely on the spread of the game in the specific culture of the country.

Recent surveys from 2013 showed that in EEUU about 70% of the population has played at least once and 0.5% to 1% of them have a problem with the game. Although gambling addiction also seems to be relatively pronounced in EEUU, it is well below the figures of game centers such as Nevada, where approximately 4% of the population are pathological players. In fact, the number of those who have experience in gambling is constantly increasing. This is mainly due to the growing popularity of online gambling.

It is difficult to say how many of those affected seek treatment. It can be assumed that the majority of those affected do not seek help or talk about a possible game problem. However, the fact is that some players manage to escape addiction without resorting to treatment or seeking help. However, some of them suffer from gambling addiction for several years before finding a way out.

Below we give some links where you can inquire about the gambling problem

What are the causes of gambling addiction?

Basically you can say that addiction to the game is caused by the inability of a player to control his behavior. Where exactly the cause of this disability can be found, that varies from player to player.

The probable underlying reason for developing gambling addiction is biological. For example, gambling addiction can be compared to other addictions in which the brain transmits neurological signals. These signals are comparable, for example, to drug addiction, in which, after taking the drugs, messenger substances (so-called neurotransmitters) are emitted. If the resulting feelings remain for a certain period of time, the affected person has withdrawal symptoms that lead to renewed use of the drug.

However, there are other factors involved in the development of gambling addiction. Therefore, the player’s attitude towards the game can have a decisive influence. That means that whoever addresses the issue with a realistic attitude and, above all, plays for fun, becomes less vulnerable to addictions. Anyone who plays for financial reasons quickly gets into a situation that serves as a breeding ground for gambling addiction.

The best example is player misconduct. This is a common logical error. The player thinks that past events influence upcoming events. In the game, however, each round is independent of the next or previous one. Even if, for example, in roulette, the ball has always landed in odd numbers in the last ten rounds, that does not mean that an even number is more likely in that round. However, many players try to bet on events that they attribute to being more likely to compensate for past losses. Bets often increase, as required, for example, by the Martingale strategy for roulette. So, it is often difficult for these players to pull the cord and accept the loss.

One might think that external factors also influence the development of gambling addiction. But as often described in the gambling literature, this is not the case. Rather, external factors such as stress can only lead to greater addictive behavior in players who are already in danger. However, they are not the reason for gambling addiction. Therefore, while the high availability of gaming machines or casinos gives people easier access to the game, it is a mistake to say that this is a direct cause of gambling addiction. Often, those who suffer from gambling addiction also find access to the game where it is prohibited. However, it should not be left unmentioned in this discussion that high-speed games such as slot machines tend to contribute to game problems, that is, slow games such as lotteries. The explanation is simple: in a slot machine you can play countless rounds in a row, each one takes only a few seconds, while you have to wait for the lottery draws.

There are also several risk factors that increase the likelihood of a vulnerable player developing addiction to the game. Those who are already addicted to alcohol or other drugs have repeatedly shown a greater susceptibility to gambling addiction in studies. Since then, various psychological disorders have been identified as risk factors for gambling problems, such as schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder.

This is how you can detect game addiction

One would think that the symptoms of a game problem are easily recognizable. But that is not the case. Especially when you are affected, you can quickly ignore the most obvious symptoms. The habit of rationalizing the problems that arise makes preventive measures very difficult. Most likely, the environment, family and friends can still perceive problematic game habits.

Game addiction is a difficult problem to understand. Therefore, definitions and symptoms vary by source. The Federal Center for Health Education detects the following signs that indicate a gambling addiction:

Lies and excuses in order to hide the amount of play
Emotional absence Often, those affected are no longer reached emotionally, since they are in thoughts when they play past games or games
Emerging monetary problems that may endanger existential livelihoods
During collaborative businesses, the victim takes every opportunity to play.
The person in question stays away from social enterprises, since he wants to spend this time playing

You do not have to show all these symptoms to be considered addicted to the game. Often, the transitions from a game problem to the pathological game are fluid, so the signs accumulate over time or vary in severity. However, if you meet several of these criteria, you are very likely to have a serious game problem and must take countermeasures.

If you think you are addicted to addiction or are already addicted, you should ask yourself the following questions:

Are you considering winning strategies to increase your chances of winning?
Play daily or even several hours a day?
Have you ever tried to play less and failed?
Have your gaming habits damaged your friendships?
Are you trying to reproduce the feeling you had when you started playing?
Have you ever hidden your gaming habits?
Tell others that they would have won if you had lost?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you have at least one game problem. However, to make an accurate statement, you must immediately contact an expert or visit a support organization. More information can be found in the last section of this article.

The road to recovery.

Game addiction is an individual problem that must be treated that way. Therefore, there is hardly a standard therapy for which each game addict is suitable. In general, however, there are three places where the addict can get help.

1. Advice centers:

Here addicts, addicts and relatives of game addicts can report. The services include information about the game in general and, of course, the potential for addiction. A personal consultation with possible subsequent outpatient therapy may also be part of the scope of services. These therapies are often group therapies that take place at regular intervals. Many health insurance companies cover the costs of such treatment.

However, mediation for hospital treatment is not excluded, but must be decided on a case-by-case basis, since the affected person is torn from their social and professional life. Follow-up services include, for example, placement in self-help groups, family counseling and financial and tax advice.

2. Clinics

In severe cases, hospital treatment may make sense. These are often prepared by counseling centers. While the duration of therapy depends on the clinical picture, it can take up to 12 weeks and, therefore, is quite dramatic. Therefore, the affected person is often entitled to a type of sickness benefit. The relapse prophylaxis and information on the financial implications of the game, as well as the tax treatment of the gains or losses resulting from the game, are part of this measure.

3. Support groups

In many cities and places in EEUU there are self-help groups. Especially for players who have just recognized their game problem and players who have successfully completed a therapy, exchanging with other interested parties can be very useful. Participation in such therapies is always free and without obligation, since the organizers are volunteers. Those who control their game behavior with the help of a self-help group often help others whose rehabilitation has not progressed so far.