Problem gambling is a disorder characterized by the need to gamble despite negative consequences.  Problem gambling is considered a process addiction, whereby the addiction is centered on a behavior, not a substance.  Today, with the advent of phones, laptops, and tablets, online gambling has seen an increase in use and abuse.  Online gambling is a popular form of entertainment for many people; however, for the problem gambler, online gambling is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week doorway to fuel the addiction.

Online gambling is a problem not only for the addict but also their families.  An online gambler experiences the same problems as a non-online gambler but does face some issues that might not be present with non-online gamblers.  Online problem gamblers go to great lengths to hide their addiction through passwords intended to keep family members from logging in to phones, tablets, and laptops.  A problem gambler might even have a computer that no one in the family knows about.  The problem gambler will also hide any activity of gambling by deleting browsing histories and computer cookies.  They also might pretend to be playing non-gambling games when others are nearby.

The online problem gambler will find ways to fund gambling activity and may use credit cards that are used specifically for gambling.  There are even third-party vendors who will accept credit or debit cards and even checks and turn them into usable computer credits that the gambler can use.  Online gambling is different in that one cannot give cash to a change person or insert cash into a machine directly.  This does not limit the gambler from gambling.  When there is a will, there is a way.

Several studies have shown that online gambling can be as addictive as drugs or alcohol.  Gambling activity affects the brain the same as if a person ingested chemicals or alcohol.  The gambling addict may have lower levels of norepinephrine in the brain, which is a chemical that controls happiness.  Gambling provides a rush of “happy” feelings but only temporarily.  Soon the rush is replaced by needing to figure out how to cover debts, pay bills, and explain wasted hours or missed time from work to family members.

With technology advancing rapidly, the avenue for online problem gambling remains.  If you or someone you know is suffering from an online gambling addiction, get them help as soon as possible.  It is a change that needs to be made.  Hired Power can provide treatment for the online problem gambler, so call today (800) 910-9299.

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