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
  • 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
  • Have lost or jeopardized a significant relationship or
    career opportunity because of gambling

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.