Requests for treatment of adolescents with Internet-related problems have increased significantly. It is therefore not strange to see young people with online gambling problems resort to psychological counseling.
Young people use the Internet to access a wide variety of content via multiple devices. The main goal is to interact, have fun or learn. However, it has been shown in recent years thatinappropriate or excessive Internet can have negative consequences. We talk about repercussions on the functions of daily life, family and interpersonal relationships, and emotional stability.
Online gambling disorder, a real disorder?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) states thatInternet addiction does not have enough entity to be classified as a disorder. He nonetheless suggests the existence of online gambling disorder, indicating that it requires further study (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
This situation motivated different investigations. The latter provide sufficient evidence to assert that the use of video games in an excessive or exaggerated manner may havenegative consequences that are more serious or equal than those of any other known dependency.
How to diagnose online gambling disorder?
Let's see now diagnostic criteria required for the existence of online gambling disorder, according to the DSM-5:
Persistent and recurrent use of the Internet to participate in games, often with other players, resulting in clinically significant disability or discomfort,as indicated by 5 (or more) of the following behaviors over a 12-month period:
- Concern for online games. The individual previously thinks of gambling activities or plans to play the next part. Internet becomes the dominant activity of everyday life. This disorder is different from gambling on the Internet, which is included in the gambling disorder.
- Abstinence symptoms appear when online games are removed. These symptoms are usually described as irritability, anxiety or sadness. But there is no physical sign of pharmacological abstinence.
- Tolerance. It refers to the need to devote more and more time to online games.
- Unsuccessful attempts to control the participation in online games.
- Loss of interest in past hobbies and entertainment except for online games.
- The subject continues to use online games excessively despite the knowledge of the associated psychosocial problems.
- The subject hasdeceived family members, therapists or other people as for the time spent playing online.
- Using online games to escape or mitigate a negative effect. For example, feelings of helplessness, guilt or anxiety.
- The subject hasendangered orlost a meaningful relationship, an opportunity for employment, education or a job. Because of his participation in online games.
Only online games that are not related to betting are included in this trouble.It does not include the use of the Internet to perform required activities in a business or profession. It is also not expected that this disorder will include other recreational or social uses of the Internet.
Online gambling disorder is similar to addiction
Online gambling disorder is a pattern of excessive and prolonged use of online gambling. This results in a group of cognitive and behavioral symptoms. For example,progressive loss of control over gambling, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. They are analogous to the symptoms of a substance use disorder.
As with substance use disorders, people with online gambling problems continue to sit in front of a computer to play games,even if they neglect other activities.
These personsspend 8 to 10 hours or more per day doing this activity and at least 30 hours a week. They are agitated and angry if they are made to be unable to use a computer and play. They often spend long periods without eating or sleeping.
Social games that interfere with everyday life
Another symptom is that the subjectdoes not take into account normal obligations such as work, schooling or family obligations. The essential feature of online gambling disorder is persistent and recurring participation in computer games, usually group games, for many hours.
These games involve competition between groups of players (who are often in different parts of the world) who participate in complex and structured activities that involve a significant aspect of social interaction during play.
Team feelings seem to be an essential motivation. They tenaciously resist attempts to redirect the individual to school tasks or interpersonal activities. Personal, family or professional occupations are therefore neglected.
In addition, respondentssayThey use the computer to "avoid boredom" rather than communicate or search for information. Some people even exhibit brain activation triggered by online gambling exposure in specific regions that are not limited to the reward system.
The description of the criteria related to this condition is adapted from a study conducted in China. The optimal criteria and the diagnostic threshold have yet to be determined empirically. Wetherefore, we recommend taking the information in this article with caution.
If you think you have a problem with online gambling,the best thing to do is to consult a specialized psychologist. It will help you overcome this "addiction" and minimize its impact on your life.