No two reactions are the same, but yes recurring symptoms, attitudes that are not normal. People who go through some type of addiction suffer a disorder that changes everything. Towards worse. The pathological gambling, for example. The family begins to notice strange attitudes, more silences, lies, loneliness. This is how the lives of those who fall into the claws of the game.

Susana Jiménez, head of the Pathological Gambling Unit of the Hospital de Bellvitge, help to draw this profile. And it starts on a positive note, the fact that more and more people are ask for help on their own initiative. “Before it was only the family that made the first contact, and now there are many who write to us to ask for assistance faced with a situation that they see has been slipped out of hand. Fortunately, now there is more acceptance that there is a serious problem, and that helps a lot with regard to recovery.”

the fucking money

Everything revolves around money. Even in the mildest cases, this expert points out, she underlies a growing concern about the payback It ends up becoming an obsession. That is where, with the aim of hide the debtthey begin to lie, or even steal, in order not to admit the truth and hide a reality that engulfs them day by day and that, deep down, fills them with shame. They live convinced that they will be able to reverse the situation, but what usually happens, because the bank always wins, is that they continue to lose. Irritable, nervous, suspicious, overwhelmed by the feeling of guilt; the behavior changes completely.

“Now there is less stigma and more information. Before it was a vice but now there is talk of a disorder”

In the best of cases, the environment notices that something is wrong. Or the affected person himself becomes aware and realizes that has hit rock bottom. And then the step is taken. “Now there is more information and less stigma. Before there was talk of vice and that is a word that makes you recoil, but now we are referring to a disorder that, as such, is treatable,” says Jiménez. Regarding the origin, men with lower studies and a lower level of education prevail. low or medium-low socioeconomic level, and urban environment. But be careful, because with the irruption of sports betting, a unusual player, younger and with university studies (16.4% when years ago it did not reach 4%). It happens, complains the person in charge of Bellvitge, that the ‘online’ game associated with sport “is socially more accepted“That’s why there are many who even start when they have not yet turned 18.

before 18

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35% of those addicted to this type of gambling started before the legal ageJimenez says. In his unit, 12% of those dealt with today admit that they already gambled before they were of legal age. “It is a very worrying percentage that should make us reflect on the control over this type of bets“, recipe. In the same way that the friend of legal age is sent to the supermarket for beers, they open an account in the name of someone who is already 18 and operate from there despite being 15 or 17. That, or through of the game rooms, whose access is now more restricted, by law, but in the past it was not difficult to enter despite not having the regulatory ageJimenez complains.

The psychological treatment seeks a “cognitive-behavioral orientation whose objective is to achieve the gambling abstinence“. A first phase of a minimum of 16 sessions, one per week, tries to reorder the vital structure of the affected person. From there, an uninterrupted follow-up that can be extended, to finish the whole process, two and a half years.


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