Addiction to sports betting: a new profile in pathological gambling
This type of addiction usually starts innocently, by downloading an app or logging on to a website.
In recent times we find a change of pattern in terms of addictions, with behavioral addictions being more and more frequent, that is, those that are not based on the consumption of substances, but on behaviors.
More specifically, with the irruption of new technologies and the fashion for sports betting, this type of pathological gambling has become increasingly common in terms of both frequency in terms of frequency and severity in today's society. Let's see what sports betting addiction is like and what can be done about it.
What is sports betting addiction?
The profile of the gambling addict has changed. Years ago we could associate it with the image of the person in the bar playing slot machines, nowadays, although this profile and this addiction are still valid, we are facing a younger age profile. Generally, a young male who either plays from home, betting from a mobile application or computer, or goes to specific gambling halls to bet money.
We can observe how more and more gambling rooms of this type are proliferating and there is more advertising and more applications that predispose to online gambling, which does not facilitate the eradication of this pathology. All this adds up to the fact that it is something quite normalized, which is not seen as problematic until the person has already entered a spiral from which it is difficult to get out.
Sometimes this addiction is accompanied either by other types of addictions, such as cannabis or alcohol, or by other types of problems, such as lack of social skills or low self-esteem, although it is true that this is not always the case and there are exceptions.
According to the DSM, pathological gambling or pathological gambling could be diagnosed in a patient who shows persistent, maladaptive gambling behavior, as reflected by the presence of 4 or more of the following symptoms Within a 12-month period, along with "persistent and recurrent problem gambling behavior":
- The need to gamble an increasing amount of money to satiate oneself appears.
- Nerves or irritability appear when trying to stop gambling, or when gambling stops.
- He finds it hard to stop gambling, and has been unable to do so for several attempts.
- He spends a lot of time thinking about gambling, either reminiscing about plays, planning new ones, or fantasizing about winning a large amount.
- There is a tendency to gamble more when he feels bad, either because he is sad or anxious.
- After losing, he feels the urge to gamble more to win back what he has lost.
- Lies to others to hide the extent of his involvement in gambling.
- He compromises friendships and family ties because of gambling and his tendency to ask for money that he will not pay back.
What can I do if I have this problem?
It probably all started innocently enough, downloading an app and placing a small bet.The problem usually occurs when a certain amount of money is won easily, this generates a great satisfaction, what we call positive reinforcement, which can help to create and consolidate the false belief that you can control it and win more money (fallacy of control).
You tend to gamble more and more, there may be a day when you win, but the losses are much greater and the consequences are much greater. the losses are much greater and the consequences, therefore, more and more serious..
First of all, do not hide the problem and ask for help, getting out of this addiction alone is very complicated, you will need professional and socio-family help. Do not be ashamed, these games are very addictive; once you take the step of wanting to quit, you have already done the main thing to abandon this addiction, following therapeutic guidelines and working with a psychologist you can abandon this problematic behavior.
What can I do if I know someone who has this problem?
Talk to him/her without blaming him/her, try to make him/her understand that he/she has a problem.. If he/she does not want to assume it, he/she will most likely deny it, but it may be significant for him/her that someone around him/her has seen this problem and that this will generate a "seed" that can help him/her to realize that something is wrong.
Do not normalize his/her behaviorThat is to say, do not try to minimize its importance, comparing it with other types of addictions and minimizing it, since this can reduce motivation.
Offer your help to accompany him/her in his/her processFor example, to look for information together on where to go, to accompany him/her to the psychologist, etc.
Also, let him/her express how he/she feels and do not minimize what he/she tells you. It is important to have patience, it can be a complex and long process, the important thing is that you stay by his/her side while he/she goes through the path of de-addiction.
At Mariva Psicólogos, we work with this type of addictions from a cognitive level (control beliefs, false expectations, use of gambling as an escape route, underlying problems, guilt, low self-esteem, etc.) as well as a behavioral level, that is, providing strategies that help to change this behavior and prevent relapses.
If you need more information about this type of treatment, we are at your disposal.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)