The casino is a world onto itself. There are no windows, no clock, but there are blinking lights, and the din of clacking coins and whirring slot machines. Beyond the slots, figures are mesmerized at the crap slot online table. Interest in poker hit new heights with televised Mississippi Hold ’em tournaments. For the majority of players, this is excitement, recreation, a fun diversion or escape from the ordinary and an opportunity beat the odds. For others, an estimated three percent of the adult population, it’s an addiction, an endless roller coaster of excitement and disheartenment.
A pervasive characteristic of addiction of all kinds is that the repeated behaviors have led to a range of negative consequences. This may be putting it mildly in the case of pathological playing, because someone in the grips of compulsive playing usually suffers severe blows to finances and relationships before seeking help. His or her life may be in shambles.
Usually the compulsive gambler’s denial leads him to trust that the next round will save you the day. Of course, if the numbers come up right, the amount or credit won is then “invested” again. Playing addiction is hardly the latest development, but the advent of electronic poker and the break-neck speed of today’s slot machines, as well as Internet playing have actually hasten the time it takes to gamble for fun and when it falls into problematic, then compulsive behavior.
Pathological playing, like other addictions, is both a neurological and a behaviour disease. While we don’t know all the factors leading to playing addiction, they often include social, family and psychological elements. We can say for sure that the brain neuropathways concerning the brain’s things are affected in an individual’s perception of rewarding experiences. The emotional escape that an individual finds in playing may become entrenched.
We have seen from 15-20 percent of patients who suffer from cross-addictive disorders, such as alcoholism or drug dependency with problem playing. Some estimates claim that 35 percent of those with substance abuse or dependancy also have met the diagnostic criteria for pathological playing at some point in their lives. The SOGS (South Oaks Playing Screen) is the accepted psychosocial diagnostic tool to spot a playing problem and its evolution.
Both substance and playing addiction are progressive diseases, and may be characterized by inability to control desires (to use or or gamble) denial, anxiety mood golf swings and depression and the need for instant gratification. Playing, like chemical dependency, offers euphoric highs, which are inevitably followed by emotional valleys and usually sorrow and shame. A major difference in playing versus substance addiction is that the alcoholic or drug addict doesn’t believe the substance is the answer to recovery and to his problems, while the compulsive gambler believes the Big Win will be the answer to all his problems.
Playing addictions can also result in symptoms such as blackouts and problems with sleep and hopelessness. Divorce, relationship and work problems, even arrests are some devastating consequences of compulsive playing. A person’s our health is often neglected, including medical conditions that ignored. Playing addiction is certainly a family disease, creating a dysfunctional family system that centers around the individual’s addiction. Children may be emotionally stranded as well as physically neglected. Kids are affected long term too, with studies price 35 to 50 percent of children of pathological players eventually experiencing playing problems of their own.
It is important that whenever chemical and playing addictions co-occur, they are treated at the same time. Like chemical dependency, playing addiction is addressed in of utilizing holistic treatment based on the Twelve Step Philosophy. Treatment is custom and takes into account issues of gender and age.
Playing: is it the money?
Some experts, including Medical professional. Henry Lesieur, St. John’s University, NYC, who co-authored the SOGS screening assessment, believe it isn’t really about the money, even though money becomes a looming issue. Seeking action seems to be the major impetus for many. Being in action may be similar to the most of taking cocaine. “Chasing losses” is term use by habitual players to describe attempting to recoup the playing losses by winning. The action gambler usually wants to gamble on site, at a casino, racetrack, or other “live” venue. Often they are identified by casinos as “high rollers” and received comped rooms and meals. Others, though, don’t gamble for action so much as numb their feelings with compulsive playing, so it becomes the ultimate, albeit temporary escape.
Age and gender as factors
A survey by University of Connecticut Health Center psychiatrists published in 2002 looked at players seeking treatment and found significant differences by age and gender in pathological players. Middle aged (aged 36-55) and older players offered help to include more women, at 45-55 percent, than younger players (aged 18-35) at 23 percent. Middle aged and older women didn’t begin playing regularly until the age of 55, while older men reported a habit of lifelong playing. Perhaps surprisingly, the women also wagered greatest amounts in the month prior to treatment. Younger players reported most problems with substance abuse, social and legal problems, while older players found more employment-related problems.
There is hope for recovery
Pathological players, like others who suffer from addiction can and do recover. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, with Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, can go up unhealthy behaviors and thoughts, including false beliefs, rationalizations, and self-destructive feelings. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy also helps individuals to meet life on its own terms rather than escape painful emotions with compulsive addictions.