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How does gaming addiction start?

Gaming becomes an addiction when the desire to play takes on an obsessive nature and becomes a compulsion that controls everything else. Those who are affected not only lose a great deal of time and money; their self-confidence and self-esteem suffer as well. They increasingly neglect important areas of their life such as family, work, hobbies and socialising. It is a creeping process that often goes unnoticed by the people involved until a very late stage, when it has become an addiction.

The three phases of problematic gaming

Problematic gaming normally develops in three phases.

Phase 1: Adventure and winning phase

During this phase, you often win significant amounts of money. This experience can lead to the misconception that your gaming success is due to your abilities rather than pure luck. It is easy to attribute inevitable losses that occur during this phase to logically explained causes that are beyond your control. At the same time, there is a tendency to gloss over or conceal those losses. Continuing to play with large sums of money at this point or even taking out loans to carry on gaming should set alarm bells ringing. Every loan taken out has a single goal: to enable you to continue gaming.

Phase 2: Losing phase

During the next phase, you find you are only able to play if you can borrow money. At the same time, the tendency is to conceal these transactions where possible. This phase marks the start of a slow yet steady alienation from family and friends. Isolation is just around the corner. However, you still believe that you will soon be able to repay your debts. A typical statement during this phase: “As soon as I’ve paid back my debts, I’ll stop gaming.”

Phase 3: Desperation phase

Ultimately, gaming becomes an activity that begins to control your entire life. This has a destructive effect on relationships, work and respect. The line between potentially problematic and compulsive behaviour is blurred. However, each phase does not necessarily lead to the next.

So, always play responsibly.

What does “play responsibly/responsible gaming” mean? We believe you will have a more positive gaming experience if you are aware of your own gaming behaviour. This understanding is the key to ensuring that gaming continues to be fun.

To find out more about your own gaming behaviour, take our short self-assessment test.