Gambling addiction information

The effect on persons who have a problem with excess and pathological gambling can have serious consequences if not adhered to.

Gambling addiction was recognized as a disease by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2001. The diagnosis is either based on the manual called ICD-11 (International classification of diseases 11th version) or on the manual named DSM V (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition).

Pathological gambling has so far been counted as one of the clinical syndromes of impulse control disorders. Different reasons can lead to a developing gambling addiction. Social problems, concerns at work or about the future career, loneliness and other factors can lead to a loss of control regarding gambling behaviour. What many approaches to an explanation have in common is that players struggling with problem gambling and pathological gambling have a distorted emotional regulation.

An example regarding the field of sports betting can be provided by current research approaches which have specifically identified groups that are vulnerable to the development of a problematic gambling behaviour: on the one hand people with a migration background, on the other hand gamblers who are sports-minded and who play in organised associations.

Regarding the creation and continuation of gambling addiction, the biopsychosocial model can provide explanatory approaches; this model (also called the diathesis-stress model) assumes that the person, the environment as well as the product interact with each other. Accordingly, social, biological and psychological factors are involved in the creation and continuation of diseases. Especially with regard to addictive diseases in all their complex set of conditions, it supplies an appropriate and explanatory approach. In the interaction of the three components, factors of vulnerability and resilience play a role and therefore highlight the importance of a holistic approach regarding the creation and continuation of gambling addiction, the development of which is characterised by a chronic and processual nature.

The releasing or involving dopamine as a neurotransmitter, known as dopaminergic plays a role in the way rewards are seen by the player. In addition to wins almost achieved, other characteristics of gambling have to be considered:

  • Emotional participation
  • Event Frequency
  • Flexible bet amount and profit opportunities
  • Illusionary control beliefs
  • Distorted information processing
  • Importance of the peer group as a social reference framework
  • Interactive game
  • Extensive advertising
  • Lack of social control
  • Availability (online and on gambling premises)
  • Presumed share of competence and influence is overestimated
  • Incentive effects


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