Gaming itself is not a definitely bad practice. At least because, as recent studies have shown, gaming may help stimulate the health of seniors. Also, benefits to the local economies of gambling establishments are hard to deny. However, like any other unhealthy, excessive passion, gaming, and gambling may be truly fatal to a vulnerable person and develop into an addiction.
Both gaming and gambling addictions imply a spiraling effect. At first, this is just an attempt to brighten up life somehow and satisfy the need for excitement and adrenaline. Then, the game becomes more attractive, as it helps to hide from problems, sexual dissatisfaction, and dull everyday life. Another reason for immersion in the gambling world is the opportunity to feel omnipotent (in those moments when one wins) and correct past mistakes. There is a feeling that you can always replay in a new way. In fact, no – only until the money runs out. However, the addict has a million excuses for such a case. Borrowing money or mortgaging the property suddenly ceases to seem shameful and becomes merely one option. At the very least, the gambler has confidence that even if he has lost now, tomorrow he will certainly win.
Not a Habit but Severe Disorder
Video game disorder was classified as a real diagnosis last year, and now, 9% of Americans who regularly play video games showed signs of gaming addiction, according to Webmd. Gambling addiction belongs to the group of severe psychological addictions – the so-called “impulse-control disorders.”
With the development of the Internet, the rating of this addiction in the USA has exploded. Games of chance are no longer associated with some privileged life or luxury casinos. There is no need to take a casino trip, spending extra time and money on it, or pass face control. Permanent and simple access to online gambling through a computer or smartphone along with low stakes, which usually offer online casinos, simplify addiction a lot.
Nowadays, according to the statistics, about 80% of American adults gamble at least once a year. And five gamblers of every hundred faces a gambling addiction of any severity level.
Eventually, both gaming, associated with fear or failure to accept reality and threat of depression, and gambling, associated with the waste of money and the development of propensities for antisocial behavior, can damage every aspect of one’s life, including relationships and family.
Addiction Which Ruins the Family
So, we should not underestimate the problem. Women are not so inclined to gambling because of greater responsibility. So, more often, when a guy before the wedding admits that he bets time to time, many girls look the other way. On the other hand, if a guy hears from his girlfriend she loves to bet, he at the beginning also most likely will see nothing terrible in this. After all, “women are more responsible,” for sure she easily keeps her hobby under control! One way or another, stereotypes often work against us, lulling our vigilance.
Until you live with the gambler under the same roof, the passion for games of chance rarely seems too severe. Doubts appear later when the husband or wife (instead of household chores, and even instead of food and sex) hangs on the online gambling websites, disappears in casinos or play slots day and night, spending a family budget.
In the case of gaming addiction, negative consequences can be no less significant. It all depends on the degree of addiction, but in essence, all addicts have much in common. If a gambler spends more money on his hobby than a video game lover (although, again, there are various situations), this does not make the latter’s dependence more “normal”. A person spends (and with further the less pleasure) their time, which is a much more valuable resource than money. Also, an addicted person loses the resources that he or she has gained or developed during life – health, style, career, friendship.
The spouse also gradually ceases to be a significant or authoritative person for the addict. In their eyes, the spouse turns out to be rather an obstacle on the way to pleasure. So, many gamers and gamblers lie and hide from a spouse whose desire to help causes only aggression and irritation. No wonder that 8% of marriages end up in divorce due to this addiction, as the research carried out by a divorce company in Texas claims. And these are only counting those couples who indicated the reason for their divorce when filing!
Along with it, following patterns of any dependence, both video games, and gambling addiction affect the children of the spouses.
The children in a family where at least one parent is addicted to gaming feel physical and emotional abandonment. They suffer from a lack of parental attention, empathy, and communication. They are also more likely to face mental abuse and physical violence, as well as have a higher chance of developing some kind of addiction later in life.
When the Game Is Over?
It’s challenging to “save” your gamer spouse on your own. Not everyone has sufficient knowledge of psychology and internal strength to behave correctly and not succumb to both arbitrary and unconscious manipulation of the spouse.
If the spouses love each other, but the disorder of one of them has reached the point where even the most loving one gives up and thinks about a divorce – this is a definite sign that it is time to consult a doctor.
There are many inpatient facilities and outpatient clinics which specialize in compulsive behavior and gaming disorder.
The damage done to the marriage by addiction may sometimes open the eyes of an addict. This can be a kind of breaking point when the person realizes their addiction. But it is still far from the end of the game. The game ends when a person who suffers from addiction has time to heal. Personal willpower may not be enough. Although motivation is essential, in severe addiction cases, only professional treatment is more likely to guarantee a long-term outcome rather than a “one moment epiphany.”