Online casinos and addiction: the problem of compulsive gambling

Online casinos are linked to a serious problem affecting a person’s social identity. We speak of isolation, of addiction, of compulsiveness related to gambling. Indeed, it is important to be aware of the risks posed by online gambling activities, that as they become more entertaining they can also become quite harmful and addictive.

The origin of addiction

The problems of addiction and compulsion the game confronts are not like a sudden illness but rather like a slow and gradual contagion. In this sense, these problems develop following multiple stages. The potential risk is in the first place with temptation. It suffices to win a more or less significant amount one single time to feel great satisfaction. Temptation is linked to meeting a need: it is satisfaction, well-being, euphoria. It is natural to want to repeat the same effort to again feel this need being met. However, once one proceeds beyond a certain limit without any sensation of a need being satisfied, one can speak of addiction. The problem is that addiction can become transformed into a very difficult mental disorder.

The problem of non-self recognition

Although a recovery is possible, it is important to know how to moderate and to be willing to overcome the addiction. To do this, one has to accept the fait accompli and recognize his or her problem. The best weapon against addiction is prevention. It tends to avert the enjoyment of playing from being transformed into a need to play, the simple diversion from undergoing a metamorphosis to a dangerous pathology.

The causes of compulsive gambling

The causes of compulsive gambling are numerous, but the patterns of developing an addiction are the same from one player to another. In fact, to come to feel the game as a need, as a necessity to satisfy, is due to an evident lack of self-control. Genetic or biochemical causes are likely to be at the root of this absence of self-control. However, psychological vectors are certainly the ones that predominate: Freud himself raised the hypothesis that abusive gambling echoed the need to achieve a positive social image of oneself to others. Easy money would thus be an avenue to social success.

Compulsive gambling in three phases

Described below are different stages that can lead to addictive gambling and should be avoided:

  • The Winning Phase: It’s beginner’s luck. The player is euphoric and has won a sum of money. The rush of adrenaline and the desire to relive the same moment unconsciously pushes the player to try his (or her) luck a second time.
  • The Loss Phase: If until now the player has won and escaped financial difficulties, he (or she) is suddenly in a deficit situation because he played too much. He tells himself that his luck will change and/or that he wants to recoup his entire losses by making easy money. Thus, he continues to play and rushes headlong into the trap. The economic and social difficulties are already being felt but the player is already locked into a vicious and obsessive cycle.
  • The Phase of Despair: The situation is beyond the player’s control. His (or her) physical and mental state breaks down. The game, which has passed from a need to a permanent obsession, is a source of poison and vice. The consequences and inconveniences the game engenders can no longer ensure the rationality of the player, who can no longer come to a halt.
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