When Playing becomes a problem…

Psychologist Sophie Mosia’s blog about behavioral addiction – games addiction

Another lost life, a young man we could not save, whose survival should not have been an issue…

Recently, the world celebrated Mental Health Day with a big campaign against suicide, according to the latest statistics, one person in the world commits suicide every 40 seconds, some of them are victims of “addiction”. The dire social-economic situation of the country, the society traumatized by the civil wars and the change of formation, the open and very accessible gambling business, is a great temptation at a young age, which not everyone can endure and overcome independently. Proper and necessary preventive measures by the state, rational regulations, properly arranged and developed environment, raising public awareness, properly and productively planned media campaigns, open and qualified conversations on a problematic topic, high involvement of specialists, available services and wide opportunities for rational realization / functioning of human beings. There are strong factors that would significantly reduce the risks for future generations.

The Georgian writer, who responds to the fact of the death of cameraman Sandro, writes – “Where people lose themselves, where the suicide jackpot” fits “on the last jackpot on the slot machines – we must remove the voice” – I want to give my voice to all young people, no matter how Addiction, their parents, friends, relatives, pay more attention to such values ​​as health, freedom… ..

When seemingly innocent behavior, the game becomes a problem, you:

  • You can not stop this behavior – it is possible to stop for a while, but you come back to it again and again, which brings psychological, social and material damage;
  • You can not help but think about this behavior – when you are not doing this activity at the moment, you are constantly thinking about it. Are you willing to commit risky and extreme behavior (even stealing, stealing) in order to continue playing, for example;
  • You have an emotion management problem – Problem behavior replaces other problem-solving skills, you become more vulnerable to stress, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine how you really feel.
  • Addictive behavior interferes with your daily life and relationships. Over time your behavior is no longer under your control, all your time and finances go to maintaining dependent behavior instead of meeting other needs. Relatives remain frustrated with you and slowly get rid of them.
  • The less you realize the negative consequences of your problematic behavior, the less you notice how that behavior affects your life and those around you. Even the most serious consequences, such as breaking up a family, losing a loved one, losing a job, expelling from school, etc., are not enough to motivate you to stop. Usually before you do, people close to you realize that this particular behavior of yours is a serious problem and that you need help.

What is a behavioral addiction ?!

Traditionally, the term “addiction” has been used to refer to drug addiction or alcoholism. Today, no one disputes that different behaviors can lead to addiction, problem addiction and qualify as a severely progressive disease. Etc.

Usually, in everyday conversation, people often use the word “addiction” – “I can not do without chocolate, I am addicted to chocolate” ყ The ear and brain seem to be accustomed to this arrangement of sounds – “addiction”, Where does the line usually fall between love of chocolate and its problematic level of acceptance, dependence on it. Especially since within moderation, most addictive behaviors are necessary, necessary, and have a positive load, such as eating, having sex, and even playing with a child.

Addiction, an addiction is a brain dysfunction caused by biochemical changes in the central nervous system, it is a bio-psycho-social-spiritual disease involving the reward system of the brain. Specifically, there is no single consensus on the definition of behavioral addiction, although everyone agrees that gambling or any other addictive behavior activates the same areas of the brain as alcohol or drug use, and the reason why a person becomes addicted to drug-related behaviors is the same as It leads to drug addiction. Also, specialists who have been working on this problem for a long time, name the same symptoms of gambling prevention as alcohol or drug addiction: restlessness, irritability, anger, abdominal and headache, diarrhea, cold sweat, insomnia, tremor, loss of well-being Fear and intense desire for the game. Consequently, the problems, the negative consequences, and the specifics of the treatment are similar in all cases.

A gambling addiction diagnosis is made if a person meets at least four of the following criteria:

  1. Restlessness and irritability when a person is not playing (if he has decided to control his behavior or stop playing);
  2. Several unsuccessful attempts to surrender to the game;
  3. Abduction;
  4. Often play when you feel unhappy or ill;
  5. Chasing away lost money, obsessing over withdrawing money;
  6. Frequent lies and concealment of game facts to loved ones;
  7. Social and financial losses;
  8. Relying on someone else to pay off debts;
  9. Compulsive / uncontrollable longing.

Behavioral attitudes and other mental health problems:

Often, people who have a problematic attitude also have at least one mental problem / disorder. Specialists call it dual diagnosis or concomitant disease. Consistent, complex treatment of concomitant disorders is much more effective than one particular form of disorder.

Studies show that people who struggle with behavioral addictions are more prone to addiction to alcohol, drugs, or other psychoactive substances. Specialists working in the field of drug treatment note that addicted patients often switch from one form of addiction to another – for example, they may stop abnormal alcohol consumption but start overeating or gambling, and vice versa. However, this is not a verdict, it is important that the release / cure of one particular form of the disease reduces the likelihood of developing another form of addiction, since we are dealing with the disease as a whole, addiction, single addiction and not its individual manifestations – drug, ludomania or alcoholism, respectively. Rehabilitation should also be planned comprehensively, taking into account the overall problem of addiction.

At present, in our country, no drug is directly licensed for the treatment of gambling addiction, and although antidepressants and anti-craving drugs are widely used in the treatment process, treatment and recovery are largely based on psychosocial aspects. Methods of psychotherapy such as cognitive-behavioral counseling, motivational interviewing and other behavioral therapies, as well as self-help groups are very effective.

Since the brain cell is the only one in the human body that, like other cells, does not completely change and fully renew once every eight days, the sooner the problem is recognized and the disease stopped, the more effective the treatment will be and the more painless the person will return to a full life!

I wish you health and peace!