Online Gambling and Compulsive Behaviour

Online Gambling is any form of gambling conducted over the Internet, including virtual poker and casinos. The ability for players to wager large sums of money, the lack of a physical presence, and the constant availability to gamble have led to concerns that online gambling can lead to compulsive behaviour.

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) included disordered gambling as the first non-substance behavioral addiction. Research has shown that people with certain mental illnesses are more likely to have a gambling problem. These illnesses include schizophrenia and related disorders, unipolar depression, bipolar disorder, and cluster B personality disorders.

A person with a gambling problem may experience physical symptoms such as a loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and anxiety or other emotional problems. Gambling also can cause financial difficulties and may lead to feelings of guilt or shame. It can also interfere with a person’s relationship with family and friends.

Many people who have a gambling problem find relief through treatment programs. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a proven treatment for gambling addiction. CBT involves training in relapse prevention, social skills, and problem-solving. It can be used in individual or group sessions. Patients with a gambling problem can be treated in an inpatient rehabilitation program, which requires them to spend a certain amount of time at a rehab center, or in an outpatient rehabilitation program, where they attend classes and counseling sessions but do not live in the facility.