The field of addictions is very broad and can be divided into two categories:
Addictions to a product (tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs)
Behavioural addictions (gambling, eating disorders, compulsive shopping, sport, etc.)
Gambling addiction is therefore a behavioural addiction, the most common definition of which is that proposed by the psychiatrist Aviel Goodman: “Behavioural addiction is a process by which a behaviour, which may function both to produce pleasure and to relieve inner discomfort, is used in a mode characterised by repeated failure to control that behaviour and persistence of that behaviour despite significant negative consequences”.
The place of play in our lives
Gambling is a pleasure, a moment of conviviality with friends, a challenge where we let fate decide whether the 2 euros we have wagered will pay off.
Gambling is essential in life because it provides pleasure and fulfils an individual and social function.
On an individual level, gambling is present throughout our lives, from early childhood until the end of our lives if our consciousness allows it. It fulfils a deep-seated need, providing pleasure, stimulating intelligence, and facilitating social relations.
Socially, play is universal. It can be found in all times and cultures because this need has a social utility.
For the vast majority of individuals, gambling is practised recreationally; only for a minority will this activity become “problematic” or “excessive”.
Categories of gambling
(Greek word meaning “struggle and competition”): this includes all competitive games (e.g. sports).
(English word meaning “mimicry”): this refers to games where you have to play a character and behave accordingly (e.g. role-playing games).
(a Greek word meaning “water whirlpool”): this refers to games where the main aim is to achieve intense sensations. (Ex: bungee jumping).
(from Latin, meaning “dice games”): this refers to all games where part of the game is subject to the principle of chance. (Ex: lottery).
Very often games are a mixture of these 4 main attitudes
When gambling becomes problematic
Depending on the type of use, gambling can become problematic:
Occasional use: the player plays irregularly, he can stop easily → Normal behaviour
Regular use: frequency is greater, games are longer, there is control over the activity, no psychosocial dysfunction → Normal behaviour but gambling plays a more important role in life
Misuse: overuse with negative consequences (psychological, social, and physical) → Problem behaviour
Dependency: inability to control gambling (enslavement, intolerance to frustration, social isolation, over-indebtedness, withdrawal syndrome…) → Problem behaviour that requires appropriate care and support
To help you find out if your gambling practices are problematic, take the online tests. These are only indicative. If they reveal a gambling problem, they must be supplemented by a psycho-social assessment. Do not hesitate to contact the Ottawa Rules Of Healthy Gambling, which will carry out this assessment and offer you personalised support towards care.