Cyber Gambling and Online Sports Gambling: How to Quit
Most stories about cyber gambling and online sports gambling addictions start with very little. “It wasn’t anything big – the amount I was betting wasn’t what was going to ruin me or anything.” “The complicated part came later, when I was just thinking about how to get the money to bet and couldn’t stop thinking that if I had won a lot, I could still win more.”
Such phrases are part of many gambler’s stories and an excellent demonstration of how easy it is for the problem to get out of control. In this article, we’ll take a look at how damaging and addictive compulsive gambling really is. Let’s see what it’s all about.
Online sports gambling: What is it?
First of all, it’s worth clarifying that a cyber gambling addiction is a behavioral addiction, i.e. it’s associated with behaviors and not substances. Previously, we only spoke of addiction in the link with drugs, for example.
Thus, since 2013, pathological gambling began to be considered as a psychological addiction by the American Psychiatric Association. It’s a non-substance dependence and no longer belongs to the disorders derived from the lack of impulse control.
This is undoubtedly a great step forward in making this issue more visible. In other words, the previous view was broadened, since the mechanisms underlying the behavior that maintains the addiction were deepened.
What we’re talking about is the gratifying reinforcement that’s obtained from online gambling, which signals the brain to repeat the experience. Adrenaline and dopamine, among others, are the chemicals responsible for providing that feeling of being on the edge and of pleasure and well-being. Therefore, both when winning and losing, the desire to do it again appears.
The beginning of an addiction is when the person continuously performs the activity because it provides pleasure; for example, when playing and winning, he/she experiences certain satisfaction. However, it then becomes more complex because the activity is continued as a way to avoid the discomfort of not doing it.
Gambling is available to everyone
Today, gambling addiction is even more accessible than it used to be. In the past, you had to go to a specific place to gamble. Now, however, gambling is even on our devices. This is why it’s so easy to talk about cyber gambling and cyber gambling addiction.
At this point, the issue is that we often “fall” into this addiction without even realizing it. This is because game designs are intended to take us from a “click” to the next stage, in which we are paying for coins, for lives, or for whatever the character or the game plot needs.
On the other hand, we must also take into account that many times the issue is underestimated or timely intervention is delayed, given that “playing” is part of a daily action that occurs repeatedly throughout the day. In other words, in itself it doesn’t represent a problem. This tends to “invisibilize” it.
Despite this, it’s necessary to note what place it occupies in our lives and how we relate to gambling. This doesn’t mean becoming paranoid about online gambling; not everyone who uses this form of entertainment will end up developing an addiction. Even so, it’s important to regulate its use and be aware of it.
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Signs to identify a cyber gambling addiction
Some of the signs that may indicate that we are facing a situation of gambling addiction are the following:
- Intense desire to perform the activity and withdrawal syndrome (anxiety, anguish, irritability, etc.) when it’s not possible to do it.
- A loss of interest in other activities not related to gambling.
- Impairment in other significant areas of life, such as social relationships, study, work, and rest, among others.
- Denial of the problem and a lack of recognition of the problem or the situation.
The keys to dealing with online sports gambling
Previously, the profile of the gambler was concentrated between 18 and 35 years of age. In addition, they were mostly men. Nowadays, the age of onset has dropped and, therefore, parental attention and alertness is essential. So, how can we deal with this problem?
Promote a safe space for dialogue
Often, adolescents realize that they made a mistake with their first bet or that the situation is getting out of hand. However, they’re often very embarrassed and fearful of how others will react.
It’s important that a climate of trust prevails at home where we can talk about what’s happening to us, ask for help, and find support. In this way, an early approach makes the prognosis much easier.
Have an open attitude
It’s also very important to have an open attitude, empathy, and understanding for anyone with any kind of addictino. Try to help them to think about why they play the way they do, what they are looking for, if they recognize that they have a problem, and the consequences it implies.
For example, i’s often useful to draw up a “guide” of the situations and emotions that lead them to gambling. In this way, we can also get involved and avoid them as part of a family plan. An open and non-judgmental dialogue can open a door to help.
Accompany and monitor their use of new technologies
Although the privacy of young people must be respected, it’s necessary to establish some guidelines for use and internalize what games or applications they use.
Don’t reward them with money
When the situation becomes complex, it is important that young people don’t handle money or credit cards. This doesn’t mean that we cannot reward their effort in other ways; for example, by buying some clothes they like or inviting them to eat at their favorite restaurant.
Encourage participation in multiple activities
Someone who’s focused solely on online games will be more likely to develop a harmful relationship with technology. Therefore, offer them sports activities, recreational outings, family outings, get-togethers with friends, and different options in the offline world that allow them to disconnect.
Emotional management will be key to control their impulses.
Recognize their efforts and encourage them to continue
Making them feel supported, and confident and that they’re not alone is a powerful motivator. No matter how small it may seem, an achievement implies a huge effort for those who are in a complex situation.
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The approach must be collective
Finally, it’s very important that when thinking about starting treatment, we can look at it in a comprehensive manner. That is to say, we must go beyond that approach centered exclusively on the person to think of complex approaches in which every part of the addict’s environment is also involved.
This allows us to be participants in their improvement, as well as to become aware of the role we play and what may be the cause of the origin or maintenance of the problem. It’s also very necessary to understand that an addiction is not something that we can solve only “behind closed doors.” It requires the intervention of specialists.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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