Psychotherapist Jason Shiers shares his understanding of gambling addiction in an article on SiGMA. He believes that addiction appears in the player's brain long before he encounters his first casino. Gambling simply becomes a means through which a person escapes from reality.
Where does addiction begin?
Jason Shiers believes that over time, based on observations, a person forms an idea of how he and the world around him should be. And when the difference between who we think we are and how we want to see ourselves increases, and the world does not meet our fictional standards, a person begins to suffer.
This torment is the foundation for the formation of the thinking of a gambling addict. Something, no matter what, does not turn out the way it should be. Therefore, a person, consciously or subconsciously, is looking for a way to escape from reality or unsuccessfully to fill an endless hole with something tangible.
Can responsible gaming tools help?
According to the psychiatrist, each case is individual. Self-exclusion will help someone, and someone will simply find other options for themselves. In order to really help those suffering from addiction, you need to get to the source of the problem and give the person the right direction.
Gambling is just a symptom of a deeper problem, says Jason Shiers. And trying to teach gamblers to cope with the problem by acting on these symptoms is like “putting a band-aid on a bullet wound.” Instead, people need to be taught how the human brain works, and then gambling becomes less attractive, since a person no longer needs to seek solace in gambling.
He believes that it is possible to significantly reduce the number of gambling addicts simply by better understanding the problem. Otherwise, efforts and money are wasted, without bringing any practical results. On the subject of the futility of measures, he quoted one National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) neuroscientist who said:
I spent 13 years at NIMH promoting neuroscience and the genetics of mental disorders, and when I look back, I have succeeded in publishing a lot of cool scientific papers by cool scientists, which was spent on the order of $ 20 billion. But I don't think we've made any headway in reducing suicide rates, hospitalizations, or improving recovery for tens of millions of people with mental illness.