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HOW ONE DEVELOPS GAMBLING ADDICTION?
Gambling is definitely a disorder. The main sign of the disorder is constant participation in gambling that is repeated and worsens regardless of the consequences (poverty, destruction of personal, professional and family life). People usually start gambling out of curiosity, with friends, for leisure, to escape from everyday problems. However, many do not understand that the bet is not just money, but also mental health.
They also do not realize that the loss is guaranteed, and that the gain is not mandatory.
Loss provokes self-love and they want a rematch, a new chance to regain money, to lose the feeling of loss, to feel powerful and successful. This creates a passion for gambling. At that time, they are placing increasingly greater bets and begin to enter the so-called gambling trance without even noticing. The gambling trance is accompanied by an altered state of consciousness and then they forget about the world around them. When they win the money, they usually do not leave with the won amount, they place new bets and continue to gamble until they lose all the money.
After a repeated loss, they quickly forget about remorse and all the promises that they will no longer gamble and soon begin to feel a strong desire for gambling. With new bets they want to regain the lost money and believe they will have more luck next time. This brings them back to gambling houses, where they again fall into the gambling trance. Gambling trance is a psychological state that can be compared with the effect of psychoactive substances (drugs and alcohol). The pathological desire for gambling is so strong that a man gradually loses interest in the reality around him and will do anything to get money for gambling.
For a long time, gamblers keep their passion a secret. However, family members can notice that gamblers have begun to hide their income and expenses, make up different versions about the disappearance of money and things from home, borrow money from friends or acquaintances, take loans at the bank. They spend more and more time out of the house, explaining that they have to stay at work longer. Lies and manipulation become a common thing for them. As a rule, the family only discovers it when serious financial problems arise. The result of gambling addiction includes large gambling debts, family breakdown, personality degradation, loss of friends, loss of social status, personality change, involvement in crime, attempted suicide, etc.
STAGES OF GAMBLING ADDICTION
1.Loss of control over the gambling process – This is the first symptom of addiction that distinguishes an ordinary man from a gambler. When he enters a gambling house, an ordinary man feels nothing special. If he gets or loses some money, this does not jeopardize his financial situation. He spends some time in the gambling house and goes home. He is neither excited nor disappointed with the loss. On the other hand, the situation with the gambler goes out of control. He gambles for adrenaline, not the money. While getting the money, the adrenaline stimulates him to continue to gamble. However, he cannot only win. When fortune turns the wheel and he starts to lose, he cannot stop gambling. He wants a rematch to win again and compensate for the loss, to feel successful and strong. The only thing that can stop him is the inability to remain in the game, since all the money is exhausted, and no one wants to lend money to him anymore.
2.Developing mental addiction – The need to again feel the adrenaline is for him the same as drugs or alcohol. As soon as a new opportunity arises, he finds himself in a gambling house. He stays there more and more often losing his sense of time and money. He stops spending time with his family, and his excuses for frequent absences from home are overtime work. Money no longer serves him for paying for utilities, food, clothing and other living expenses, only for gambling.
3.Abstinence syndrome (crisis) – The gambler spends more time in the gambling house, constantly looking for money and time for gambling, and begins to feel a psychological crisis: feeling bad, not sleeping, nervous, irritable, with frequent mood swings. Debts bring him into a hopeless situation. When he has no way out, he confesses to his family. His family helps him, takes a loan, he pays off debts. He makes a promise never to gamble again. But these are just empty promises. It turns out that life without gambling is not interesting. The gambler considers that he is deprived of something pleasant and shortly returns to gambling. And the gambling cycle is repeated.
5.Strengthening stage – The need for gambling becomes so strong that, in order to satisfy it, the gambler sells valuables from home, misuses business money. Resentment and depression after gambling away the money are unbearable, but to him it seems that the only way out is to get back to gambling to regain the lost money and prove to everyone that they were wrong. Persistent stress and depression push the gambler in the abuse of alcohol, narcotics, or pills. He is stretched by suicidal thoughts. Usually people in this stage contact us for help.
Treating gambling addiction – phases
The main goal of the treatment is to eliminate the maniacal need to be in gambling trance, to regain control over the emotions and behavior of the patient, to stabilize his mental state, normalize his sleep, eliminate nervousness, irritability, mood swings.
The treatment consists of several phases:
1. Diagnostics – the first and very important phase of gambling addiction treatment. The essence of the diagnostic is to assess the physical and psychological condition of the patient. For the assessment of the patient’s physical condition, a standard diagnostic examination includes urine test, tests for viruses, general blood analysis, biochemical blood testing, ECG, internist examination
For the assessment of the patient’s psychological condition, a standard diagnostic examination implies psychodiagnostics (psychological tests that determine the level of addiction, the extent of the effect of taking benzodiazepines on mental health, whether there are signs of mental disorders, whether there is depression, what the degree of motivation for healing is, self-criticism and preservation of voluntary mechanisms.)
After diagnostics, the results are considered by a team of physicians to develop a strategy and treatment plan. In the event that the diagnosis reveals more serious deviations in the tests, the presence of a risk factor, or the patient has chronic accompanying illnesses, additional tests are organized as required, and therapy for the accompanying illnesses is prescribed. Depending on the problem, an MRT, EEG, ultrasound, X-ray, endoscopy, medicines and narcotics concentrations analysis, examinations of cardiologists, neurologists, endocrinologists, infectologists, etc. can be done. These additional tests are not included in the price of this treatment package and are charged additionally.
2.Pharmacotherapy – At the beginning of treatment, a pharmacological stabilization of the patient’s psychological condition is required. It is important to achieve balance, to eliminate nervousness, tension, depression, etc. using medicines. Only after the patient is again able to adequately accept, analyze and react to events can he move to the next treatment phase.
3.Treatment with medical devices – NeuroJet therapy is a method by which special impulses are used to affect neurons in the brain responsible for secreting endorphin. NeuroJet is a small electronic device that normalizes the level of dopamine and endorphin. Stimulation by Neurojet is painless. The patient feels only slight tickling and vibrations. The frequency and intensity of impulses are computer-controlled.
Lateral therapy for the normalization of brain hemispheres asymmetry is a neurophysiological method of correcting behavioral disorders, will, pathological desire for gambling. Thanks to this method, normalization of left and right brain hemispheres functions is achieved.
Eye movement integration is a method of desensitization using repeated series of eye movements, during which the experiences associated with the pathological desire for gambling are blocked and accelerated. Special glasses send encoded video signals and sound signals are sent over the headphones. The computer transmits information. The very information is divided into short, striking images that quickly form new associations on subconsciousness about the ruinous nature of gamling, aversion towards gambling, negative attitude towards the gambling house atmosphere, gambling rituals.
4.Psychotherapy – We conduct several types of psychotherapy:
Individual psychotherapy implies the individual work of a psychotherapist with the patient. The therapist educates the patient on how to live and work under stress, how to preserve the integrity of his personality and to have a mature attitude towards his closest ones. Together with the psychotherapist, the patient writes a plan of daily activities and is obliged to adhere to it during the outpatient phase of treatment.
Educational psychotherapy – helps to detect the causes of the disorder. Patients are presented with delusions about the disorder, physical, psychological, professional and social consequences, and also learn about rules of behavior in abstinence. They watch special movies about the consequences of gambling.
Group psychotherapy implies the work of a psychotherapist with a group of patients aimed at resolving internal conflicts, eliminate tension and correct behavioral disorders in patients. This kind of psychotherapy allows patients to understand that they are not alone in their problems and that their problem is not unsolvable.
Family psychotherapy is a method of psychological help during which a psychotherapist works with family members of a patient. As a rule, family members are co-addicts in the disease. During this therapy, they learn how to behave towards the patient after he is discharged from the hospital. Family psychotherapy is a special form of psychological counseling focused on solving problems in family relationships and on resolving conflicts between family members.
5.Mental block is a procedure with elements of hypnosis when a patient in a state of trance sort of re-lives his life for a short time. During the procedure, the patient kaleidoscopically views and participates in the most important events of his life. He sees images from childhood, images of people, events that have greatly influenced his life flashing by. At these moments, patients are emotionally experience their mistakes, seeing tragic consequences of their actions related to gambling. Many of them “realize”, cry and say that after what they have experienced nothing will force them to return to gambling.
6.Outpatient treatment of gambling addiction – After the patient is discharged from the hospital, the outpatient treatment phase lasting 12 months begins. Outpatient treatment involves regular monthly controls and constant anti-relapse support. The patient remains in contact with the doctors of our hospital and receives the necessary advice and help in case of need.
Our program includes the transport of the patient from an airport or a station to our clinic as well as a return after treatment. At our clinic, doctors and nurses are available for patients 24 hours a day and seven days a week. All doctors are certified anesthesiologists, psychiatrists and psychologists with 10-25 years of experience. The clinic employs more than 60 people. Security of patients and staff is taken care of by the security guard. The facility is also under video surveillance.
Patients are placed in comfortable rooms that have all the elements for a comfortable stay at our clinic. Rooms are cleaned twice a day. In free time, patients can use a living room, swimming pool, hot tub, gym and a gazebo. The clinic also has a safe in which patients can leave their personal belongings that should not be left in the rooms. We can assist those foreign patients who need a visa with getting it. If patients from abroad have an escort, in the form of support, they can stay at our clinic.
Gambling addiction treatment program – Laboratory diagnostics and exploratory-psychological testing. Pharmacotherapy; NeuroJet Therapy, Lateral Therapy, Eye Movement Integration, Psychotherapy, Mental Block, 12 months of outpatient follow-ups and anti-relapse support. The treatment lasts for 14 days.