What is online gambling?
Much like regular gambling, online gambling is highly addictive for many reasons. Online gambling can be even harder to recover from than gambling at a casino or gambling at a physical location. Seeing how online gambling is accessible 24/7 and essentially accessible from anywhere.
According to the the American Psychiatric Association (APA), a diagnosis of gambling disorder or online gambling addiction requires at least 4 of the following during the past year.
- Relying on other people for help with money problems caused by gambling debts.
- Lying to cover up gambling habits.
- Putting at risk or loosing significant relationships, job, educational/career opportunities.
- Gambling when feeling stressed.
- Having frequent thoughts about gambling.
- Repeated and unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
- Restless or irritability when trying to cut down or stopping your gambling habits.
- The need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve a desired feeling of excitement.
What are the dangers of online gambling?
There is a particular group that is vulnerable to online gambling addiction: teens, young adults, and to be precise young men. With the current times online gambling is on the rise.
- It is available to everyone 24/7 with minimal effort.
- There is an increasingly more convenient
- Allows for more anonymity
- Easier access to online banking information
- It is easy for people to forget that losing electronic money is equal in monetary value as cash.
- It is easier to place bets at home and under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
How can I know if I am addicted?
There are some common signs to look out for:
- Time spent online gambling is increasingly disproportionate to other activities
- Similar to regular gambling, boasting about winnings and minimizing losses.
- Flaunting large amounts of money is also common.
- Using online gambling as a crutch when feelings of stress are high or when facing a crisis.
- Mood swings, extreme highs when winning and extreme lows when losing.
- Hiding money or unusual withdrawals from bank accounts, secret loans, and other questionable behaviors.
- Lying about suspicious behavior or when caught and using lies to minimize the importance of bad behavior and choices.
What are the treatment options available?
It is important to remember that much like any addiction it is a chronic disease that has no cure, but it can be well managed. Denial is the first step needed to take to accept that there is a problem that needs to be addressed before seeking more help.
Online gambling addiction is still being researched. A common treatment option is with a combination of treatments for traditional gambling and for internet addictions have had promising results. They include individual and/ or family counseling and participation n support groups such as ‘Gamblers Anonymous,’ Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown to help compulsive gamblers/ internet users to understand their thoughts and feelings behind the compulsion to gamble and how to best overcome them or avoid them. There have been extreme cases in which the patient needs to enter a sort of ‘detox’ before further evaluation.
For more information about seeking help dealing with mental health or addiction health, or simply contacting our clinic to learn more or ask questions, Embracia Health.