Some people struggle with gambling and are not able to control how much time or money is invested in gambling. The effects can be catastrophic including physical, emotional, social and financial devastation. Online gambling has increased the opportunities and access for people to gamble while also reducing the shame of being seen going to a casino or placing bets. It is now possible to gamble in the comfort of one’s home simply with an internet connection.
Using the internet to gamble has severe health consequences. Spending long periods of time online reduces the ability to engage with friends, social activities and promotes isolation which can lead to depression. People are built for connection which is one great aspect of the internet. Some people even use online gambling as a social connection to other people who are also doing the same thing. Unfortunately, this habit can be time consuming, financially devastating over time and lead to long term health consequences when an individual spends more time online than exercising or taking care of one’s health.
Mental Health Risks
A single episode of gambling can increase adrenaline and a ‘rush,’ which may lead to more gambling to achieve the same high as a person wins. Some of the gambling mechanisms set up by companies understand this and tailor products and services to give people a sense of ‘winning’ which brings individuals back time and again to spend money. Spending increased amounts of money while gambling can lead to negative financial consequences and also feelings of shame, guilt, sadness and remorse. Depression, anxiety, fear of being caught, legal troubles and more can mount as a result of online gambling. This can have a spiral effect for a person who is unable to control the behavior and stop spending money.
An additional concern is the practice of creating ‘alternate identities’ in the online sphere to associate with virtual game playing. Overlap does occur and can lead to relationship problems in addition to financial hardship and mental health consequences due to difficulty separating the real world self from the online persona(s) created to support the gambling habit.
Finding the right support is crucial for individuals struggling with online gambling. It is important to seek a trusted family member or friend to talk to or enroll in a treatment program for gambling addiction. The first step is to admit there is a problem. Admitting this can lead to increased happiness, energy and a balanced lifestyle while getting finances back on track and rebuilding relationships which were broken as a result of online gambling.
Hired Power has trained professionals ready to speak with you about online gambling addiction. If you need help or know someone who does, call us today at 800-910-9299 to ask about our programs.