Do you have an online gambling addiction? What are the signs? In this article we explore this topic. It’s a fact that whilst gambling in a physical environment can become a problem and lead to addictive behaviour, over time somebody close to a problem gambler is likely to spot some of the tell-tale symptoms, whether this be family, friends, or casino staff.
It is much more difficult to identify those who are addicted to online gambling because they can place a bet anytime, anywhere, whether they be at home, at work, or in transit. And whilst a proven strategy for combating a gambling habit that is out of control is physical avoidance of places where gambling takes place – casinos, bars, VLTs etc – this is much more difficult when anybody with an electronic device. Provided that they have an internet connection, they can get access to an online casino in a matter of seconds, without having to leave the comfort of their own living room.
Given, therefore, the temptations involved. It is important that people police themselves and their own behaviours and spot the signs that show that they may have a problem with online gambling.
The first important point to make is that there should be no shame in admitting that you have a problem. Gambling addiction is a compulsive disorder of the brain that makes the patient gamble irrespective of any negative consequences that it might have on their lives. According to casinoadviser.co.za it is similar to other artificial stimuli like alcohol and drugs, in that it gives people a buzz but that increasing “consumption” is required to get the same feeling each time.
Compulsive gamblers tend to exhibit the same patterns of behaviour. In the first place, they lose the ability to distinguish between what should be harmless fun and what is an addictive habit. Soon they begin to take losses personally, determined to win them back at all costs.
That means that they lose all concept of self-control and sticking within a budget.
This soon descends into a vicious spiral.
At the same time, problem gamblers can become obsessive, only concerned with their next gambling fix. And, as their own savings are depleted, they may turn to family and friends to borrow money putting a strain on those relationships when those close to them are unable or will not support them. In the worst cases, this can lead to some people stealing or embezzling money to support their habit.
Online Gambling Addiction is a serious matter
A gambling addiction can also cause serious problems to a person’s mental and physical health. Some gamblers suffer from depression, mood swings, and, in extreme instances have even committed suicide. And problem gamblers may forget to look after themselves physically, eat too little or the wrong things, drink, and smoke too much, and neglect their appearance.
If any of these signs sound like you or somebody you know, then there are a number of things you can do.
The first is to admit you have a problem, and then realise you are not alone, In the UK, for example, it is estimated that there are currently 1.4 million gamblers.
Now take some action. Discuss the problem with family and friends, and do not be afraid to ask for your help. In South Africa there are a number of bodies you can turn to for support, such as SARGF – the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation – who provide free advice, counselling, and treatment for those who have a gambling addiction.
In addition, the most respected and responsible online casinos all offer their own advice and recommended courses of action for those who have a problem.
Now take the first step to curing yourself of your addiction.
Watch this space for updates in the Hacks category on Running Wolf’s Rant.