LN – How to detect if gambling, shopping or sex becomes an addiction

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Described by medicine years ago or arising from recent social changes, they affect more and more people: addiction to game, at shopping, to sex, to technology or to job They are problems that undermine psychophysical health and interfere with family and social life, and if they are not treated promptly, they can escalate to extreme situations.

They are known as addictions behavioral or behavioral, although some are more related to anxiety disorders than to addictive mechanisms or share gray areas; its origin is usually multicausal, and all, in any way, are characterized by carrying out actions that the individual cannot control, even when you are aware of the damage they cause you.


The gambling addiction it shares characteristics with almost all the others: it can begin as normal behavior, in this case, occasional trips to the casino or bingo, and progressively escalate until it takes the life of the person; It will depend on a series of factors related to family history, genetic predisposition and current circumstances for it to become, or not, an addiction.

The pathological gambler wastes money, get into debt, usually with friends, relatives, or co-workers; This leads him, in turn, to hide or falsify information about the management of his income or savings, and also to isolate himself, since faced with the impossibility of facing his debts, he prefers to cut ties and even abandon his job. You can also put family assets at stake and lie, both to cover situations related to economic or labor disaster and to cover up visits to gambling venues.

Specialists agree that the trigger for gambling addiction is often a painful or traumatic situation that the person could not process.

Where to ask for help

  • Gamblers Anonymous from Argentina: Vida line, 24 hours a day: 11-4412-6745. The meetings are anonymous and confidential. Their network is all over the country.
  • Jug-Anon for Family and Friends: Confidential and Anonymous. WhatsApp: 11-4085-8996; [email protected]
  • GBA Assistance Program: Orientation and assistance in the province of Buenos Aires, line 0800-444-4000. They also have a self-exclusion program, to request that they be prohibited from entering bingo halls and casinos.
  • Prevention and Gambling Assistance of the City of Buenos Aires: Free information and assistance for those with gambling problems. Line 0800-666-6006

Compulsive shopping

According to the psychiatrist Enzo Cascardo, the oniomania or shopping addiction was described more than a century ago by the famous German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin. It is a disorder that continues “the vicious cycle of impulse buying, feeling satisfaction, then guilt and then anxiety or withdrawal, which calms down by buying again, “explains the director of the IMA Center.” There is a lack of control; for these people the pleasure principle is more important than the reality principle, such as running the risk of losing economic status “.

The compulsive shopper acquires things that he does not need: he usually keeps them, so this addiction can also be related to hoarding disorder. He usually takes out credits or gets into debt with the cards, and that results in him also hiding what he buys when his family is already alert to the situation.

This disorder, which according to Cascardo, “is halfway between anxiety and addictions” has a greater predominance in women. Among the causes that originate it can be situations of economic vulnerability in childhood, neurobiological impulses and even family history of addictive buyers.

Where to ask for help

  • IMA Center- Anxiety Medical Research Center: they offer information about various disorders and provide free online counseling: Tel: (011) 4805-2731. Cellular or WhatsApp: 11 -3168-2124.
  • Argentine Association of Anxiety Disorders: they offer information on anxiety disorders and contact with specialists from all over the country. Tel .: (011) 4805-5388. Email: [email protected]


Although it is often called an addiction, hypersexualityAs explained by Dr. Silvina Valente, clinical sexologist and president of the Argentine Society for Human Sexuality (SASH), it is related to different disorders such as impulse control, obsessive compulsive and anxiety disorders. “Hypersexuals spend a lot of time planning and performing sexual behaviors, taking time out of their daily activities, and even if they get tired and are harmed they cannot stop doing it.”

Watching pornography, masturbating several times a day, going to prostitutes, having casual relationships or in public places are some of the behaviors that hypersexuals can have, which they are mostly male. In general, people with this disorder often have parallel lives, which often precipitates problems with their partners, whom they try to keep out of their problem.

Although it seems the opposite, Valente clarifies that hypersexuality is not so much about “obtaining pleasure as get a shock, calm a discomfort, hence the compulsion. “As in other pathological behaviors, these impulsive behaviors are a source of greater anguish and lack of control, in an escalation of suffering that becomes unsustainable.

This disorder can start in adolescence or youth, and is usually related to situations of sexual abuse in childhood, toxic stress in parenting (violence by action or omission, affective deficiencies) or post-traumatic stress, among others.

Where to ask for help

  • Hospital de Clínicas José de San Martín, CABA: the Hospital’s Gynecology service includes free attention in Sexology. To inquire about the reopening of the shift schedule, call: (011) 5950-8000 or go to Av. Córdoba 2351, C1120, CABA.
  • Sex Addicts Anonymous in Argentina (SAA): based on the 12-step scheme of Alcoholics Anonymous, meetings are organized to share experiences that help overcome the problem. Virtual meetings are held in quarantine.
  • Argentine Society of Human Sexuality: they offer guidance and referral to professionals. www.sasharg.com.ar; cell phone or WhatsApp: 11-5903-9090, Monday through Friday, from 2pm to 6pm.

Work addiction

The “workaholic” or laboradic is a person who gets over-involved with workIn other words, you cannot stop working, or be connected or alert to the issues that affect your working life. When you can’t do it, you feel extreme anxiety. This over-involvement tends to be even detrimental to their effectiveness: the laboradicto “cares more than occupies themselves” and this affects their performance. They are mostly male, and although it is a little more common among those who work within a pyramidal structure, they may have different occupations or professional profiles.

These are hypercritical, hyper-demanding and hyper-controlling people who suffer from generalized anxiety. It is common for them to have had very severe parents in childhood.

It is difficult for the laboradicto to rest or take vacations. He is aware of the phone, the mail, and so on. His friendships are restricted to those in the workplace and he isolates himself from his family; You cannot connect with your children or your partner.

One of the problems of this over-implication is that socially it is well seen: there is a positive assessment of those who “work all day” and this leads to the affected person not being able to accept that he has a problem, which usually happens only when he enters crisis your marriage or your family.

Where to ask for help

  • IMA Center- Anxiety Medical Research Center: they offer information about various disorders and provide free online counseling: Tel: (011) 4805-2731. Cellular or WhatsApp: 11 -3168-2124.
  • Argentine Association of Anxiety Disorders: They offer information on anxiety disorders and contact with specialists from all over the country. Tel .: (011) 4805-5388. Email: [email protected]


Technoaddiction is defined by “the excessive, pathological, problematic use of ICTs”, explains Enzo Cascardo, author, together with Cecilia Veiga, of the book Techno-addicts (Editions B).

The psychiatrist notices four profiles of technoaddicts, and in this heterogeneous description it becomes clear to what extent the Internet predisposes or aggravates other behaviors: “There is the cybersexual (who permanently consumes online pornography); the cyberrelations addict (who is aware of their networks social networks, chat groups, whatsapp, forums, etc.); there are the compulsions or addictions facilitated by betting, shopping, role-playing networks; and finally, those called “electronic vagabonds”, who surf without any specific purpose in search engines, video platforms, portals, etc. “, describes Cascardo.

Among the technoaddictions are people with more addictive traits or with impulse control disorders, and others with previous vulnerabilities such as anxiety disorders or social phobia. “In the latter case, we are talking more about problematic use of the Internet, individuals with deficits in social skills and who prefer to connect virtually than face to face.”

As for the problem of online games, “it is more than adolescence and it is serious, because children do not sleep, they do not study and it can turn into an addiction” describes the psychiatrist and clarifies: “not all adolescents who play are addicts : In those cases there are predisposing genetic bases, of impulse control and of course something cultural on the part of the family, of relaxing the controls because all the boys are on the Internet “.

Where to ask for help

  • Fundación Manantiales: prevention and comprehensive assistance for different addictions (011) 4382-8500.
  • Reconnect: provides comprehensive treatment to people with addictions and orientation workshops. Email: [email protected]
  • Argentina Cibersegura: provides computer security workshops for adolescents and awareness campaigns for the safe use of digital media. Email: [email protected] / Tel .: (011) 2150-3797.

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