Online Gambling Addiction – A Modern Problem
Gambling addiction, also called online gambling addiction, is an addictive behavioral habit that affects approximately 0.1 percent to 6 percent of the total adult population worldwide. This addiction often co-occurs with many other forms of addictions, such as alcohol addiction and drug addiction, and can be difficult for the gambler to overcome. A person suffering from this problem may have a repeated experience of losing large sums of money at online gambling venues, despite repeated efforts to keep their losses under control. This leaves gamblers with an even deeper sense of shame and anxiety, making them more likely to engage in compulsive behavior to cover the problems they have created for themselves.
While alcohol and prescription drugs are commonly associated with other addictions such as prescription drug abuse and alcoholism, gambling disorder is often times connected to the use of internet technology. It is now estimated that millions of Americans suffer from this problem; however, there is comparatively little research performed on this online phenomenon compared to the more traditional types of gambling. Research performed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, estimates that approximately two percent of Americans meet criteria for this online addiction. The highest risk factors for this online gambling addiction include those who gamble frequently, those with financial difficulties, those with psychiatric disorders and those who are unemployed or underemployed.
The main characteristic of online gambling addiction is that a person is required to spend a great deal of time (many hours) in order to be successful in their addiction. In many cases, the individual will spend these hours not only in front of the computer, but also in front of other individuals who are also engaged in this compulsive gambling activity. Many times, the addict will bet multiple amounts of money (a «bankroll») in hopes to «get rich» or «lose» a particular amount of money (their «edge»). Regardless of how large the bet amount, the fact remains that the gambler is engaging in this addictive behavior in order to «feel good», not «think good».
Family members can become distraught at the extent of the online gambling addiction in some cases, believing that the addicted individual may be ruining his or her life. It is important to remember that while they may be contributing to the problem in a negative way, the individual in fact has a lot of love and support within his or her life. Most addicts will admit that they have close loved ones who they are deeply involved with. Although the love may be an anchor, it is important to remember that all people lose something when we commit a mistake or make a decision that is not one we are meant to make. Compulsive gamblers often take their addiction to their loved ones to the point where they will actually destroy those relationships and jeopardize their very families.
Gambling online is becoming more popular. The Internet allows gamblers from all around the world to connect with each other through various online gambling venues. While there are many different games to play at these sites, the most common is the «house» game, which simply refers to a game where you place money in a bank or another type of account in order to wager a specific amount of money on a certain outcome. When you join a live casino, you usually will have to gamble a certain amount of money as a «buy in» before you can begin playing, but online gambling activity does not require you to put any money down before you can begin betting. What is more casinos not on gamstop important than the actual money you are investing in the game is the thrill of uncertainty. This uncertainty is what drives the compulsive gambler to place their money in a virtual account just waiting for the cash to roll in.
If you or someone you know suffers from an online gambling addiction, please seek treatment immediately. The first step towards recovery from online addiction is to realize that you have a problem. Recognize that while online gambling addiction is real and that it is affecting your life, you do not have to continue if you don’t want to. Find a local treatment program that can work with you on an outpatient basis, allowing you to go in for short sessions or to full-time outpatient care. With professional help, you can get better sooner, and stay better for longer.