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Trying to spot visible signs of an internet gambling addiction may be more difficult than an addiction to drugs, but the signs are still there. According to the Arizona Office of Problem Gambling, both traditional and internet gambling addiction are sometimes referred to as “hidden illnesses” because of the lack of physical signs or symptoms. Add to this the likelihood that someone addicted to gambling will deny a problem exists and its understandable how this condition can stay hidden.
The online gambling industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds as more and more people visit these sites. By knowing how to spot an internet gambling addiction, you (or a loved one) may have a fighting chance at stopping this disorder in its tracks.
Internet Gambling vs. Traditional Gambling
While the same criteria applies for diagnosing gambling online and traditional gambling, the ease and convenience of internet gambling greatly increases the potential for addiction. Friends and family are likely to notice when someone’s been missing for days on end at a casino. Someone with an internet gambling addiction can play pretty much anywhere, be it at work, at home or even on a mobile device.
Online banks and accounts offer easy access to funds, which paves the way for impulse betting and trying to make up for money already lost. Compare this to the time it takes to withdraw money from an ATM or visit the drive-through at the bank and a person can really set him or herself up for financial ruin with internet gambling.
Likewise, an internet gambling addiction can find no better outlet than gambling in the privacy of one’s own home. Under these conditions, an addict can easily keep his or her behavior a secret with a little pre-planning.
Warning signs for an internet gambling addiction closely resemble those for a traditional gambling addiction, according to the Arizona Office of Problem Gambling. Lying and secretiveness regarding how often a person gambles as well as lying to important people in your life acts as warnings signs of an internet gambling addiction. Gambling can also be a way to escape from difficult emotional issues or even physical pain.
Another warning sign is betting more and more money without regard to how much money you actually have. Internet gambling addiction can result in growing debt problems. An uncontrollable urge to gamble as a way to get money to pay your debts may also be an issue.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Whether it’s you or a loved you’re concerned about, the answers to certain key questions may help provide a better picture of gambling’s overall effects. Key questions to ask include:
- Have you ever had trouble controlling the urge to gamble? Can you walk away at will?
- Have you ever tried to borrow money to support a gambling habit?
- Have you ever lost a job because of gambling?
- Have you ever lost a close friend or significant other because of gambling?
- Are your friends and family concerned about how often you gamble or how much you spend when you gamble?
Ultimately, any damage or losses resulting from excess online gambling can be considered warning signs of an internet gambling addiction.