Help for Online Gambling Addiction
Gambling on the internet can be fun and provide a great rush, but it can also lead to problems like an online gambling addiction. The emotional highs and lows are strongly addictive to people who are prone to problem gambling.
It's commonly believed that online gambling addiction only affects weak-willed people, but this is incorrect. Major life changes and stress can lead to problem gambling in otherwise completely healthy, independent people.
Online gambling addiction is commonly referred to as "problem gambling," "pathological gambling," or "compulsive gambling." Any time online gambling disrupts some aspect of your life, whether it be your relationships, finances, or work, it's considered problem gambling. You may also suffer from gambling addiction if you have tried to stop but have been unsuccessful.
Pathological and compulsive gambling are more serious manifestations of problem gambling, including the need to bet more and more frequently, irritability when trying to stop, and the need to chase losses. There is no single, catch-all diagnosis for problem gambling; if gambling causes problems in your life, it's of great concern.
Signs of an Online Gambling Addiction
A part of the problem of treating online gambling addiction is that the symptoms are easy to miss. Problem gamblers sometimes don't realize they even have a problem until it becomes more serious. Even people with full blown addictions can easily hide the symptoms from their closest loved ones. You may have a gambling problem if you:
- Have often gambled longer than you planned
- Have made unsuccessful attempts to stop
- Have lost or jeopardized a significant relationship or career opportunity because of gambling
- Think about gambling often
- Feel irritable and restless when trying to stop
- Use gambling to escape worry, trouble, boredom, or loneliness
- Have had your reputation affected by gambling
- Are reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures
- Have lied to cover up the extent of your gambling habits
- Borrowed money to get out of a gambling debt
- Have gambled to get money to pay your bills
- Have thoughts of gambling that cause you to lose sleep
- Have broken the law or considered breaking the law to finance your gambling
- Have felt depressed or suicidal after gambling
- Have gambled with income or savings that were supposed to be used for other purposes
- Return to gambling to try to win back money lost
- Need to gamble with larger amounts of money to achieve the desired level of excitement
Problem gamblers are notorious for avoiding treatment and are good at hiding symptoms. If you suspect a loved one has a gambling problem, please seek help immediately. The following signs may indicate someone you know has a gambling problem:
- They gamble more than they intend
- There is an attempt to hide betting tickets, gambling money, or other signs of gambling
- There are arguments over gambling and money
- They are missing school or work to gamble
- Other people are saying that the person has a gambling problem
- They are feeling guilty about gambling
- They have attempted unsuccessfully to stop
- There are unexplained loans or cash advances
- There's an unusual increase in credit card activity
- There's missing jewelry, cash, and/or valuables
- Savings and assets are suddenly dwindling
- There are calls or letters from debt collectors
- They are asking friends and family for money
- They have overdue or unpaid bills
- There's a new desire to control household finances
- There's secrecy over money and finances
Any one of these signs alone may not necessarily indicate a problem, but if you have any doubts at all, please contact the National Council on Problem Gambling at 1-800-522-4700. The hotline is open for calls 24 hours a day and is completely confidential.
Treatment for Online Gambling Addiction
The most difficult step before getting treatment for online gambling addiction is admitting there's a problem in the first place. The good news is that once this major step has been taken, treatment can begin at once. The National Council on Problem Gambling is a great resource for people who suspect they may have a problem.
Gamblers Anonymous is another great resource for getting help. Visit their website for more information about problem gambling, treatment, and local Gamblers Anonymous chapters.
Getting treatment for problem gambling isn't always easy, but it's always possible if the affected person admits the problem and has the will to treat it. If you have the will to stop gambling, you are already well along on the road to recovery.
The internet does make gambling more accessible, but it doesn't mean you are helpless in the fight against addiction. You can send an e-mail to any online casino and ask to be excluded from for life. You'll be unable to sign up for an account or deposit money at that site.
Remember that in the end, the choice to quit gambling is yours. It may not be easy, but people do recover from problem gambling and gambling addiction. There are resources and people out there that can help fight gambling addiction. If it applies to you, visit any of the links above to get started today.
Gambling Is a Form of Entertainment
Remember that gambling is only a form of amusement. No matter how long you play or what kind of gambling systems you use, the house has an advantage every single time you place a bet. Look at the costs of gambling as a form of entertainment and balance your budget accordingly.
Don't look at gambling as a way to get rich and make fast money. Look at it as a way to spend an evening of fun. Set a budget, stick to it, and quit after you have spent your allotment. If you end up ahead after an evening of gambling, look at it as an unexpected bonus.
All too often, people fall into the gambler's fallacy when gambling. They lose five bets in a row at the roulette table and continue to bet believing that the odds must eventually turn to their favor. No matter what has happened in the past, the house always has an advantage. The roulette ball doesn't remember where it landed last time. Stick to your spending limits no matter what.
Poker and sports betting can be beaten by some people, but the vast majority of people lose money in both pursuits. Even if you take poker or sports betting seriously, it's important that you set strict spending limits. Even the best poker players go on losing streaks due to random variance.
Don't continue playing after you have spent your entertainment money for the month. It doesn't matter if you have the best strategy in the world, there's never a guarantee. Keep your gambling habits healthy and your budget in check. Trust me, the casino won't be going anywhere any time soon. It will still be there when you return next month, next year, or in ten years.
Finally, remember that there's nothing wrong with giving up gambling altogether. It's not an admission of defeat. If gambling causes you stress or money problems, it stops being a fun activity. Give it up and find something that actually brings you enjoyment. There are plenty of other hobbies out there.