Mental Health and Online Gambling

Online Gambling

Online Gambling refers to any activity that involves wagering real money for games like keno, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, video poker and slot machines. This activity can be done from any device that has internet connection, including smartphones and tablets. It is easy to access and can be done at any time of the day. This accessibility can increase the addictive nature of online gambling. The lack of physical interaction and face-to-face accountability also makes it easier for individuals to hide their gambling habits from friends and family.

Many studies have found that online gambling has significant psychological and emotional effects on its participants. These can include feelings of regret and guilt, financial problems, and social withdrawal. In addition, online gamblers may experience increased impulsivity. These effects can have lasting negative impacts on a person’s health and well-being.

Research has also shown that there is a correlation between online gambling and mental health disorders. A 2022 paper published in Addictive Behaviors by professor Lia Nower and colleagues at Rutgers University notes that people with mental illnesses are at a greater risk for problem gambling. These illnesses can include schizophrenia and related disorders, unipolar depression, bipolar disorder and cluster B personality disorders. This link is so strong that the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) classifies gambling disorder as a behavioral addiction, along with alcohol and drug abuse. Consequently, people with a mental illness should seek treatment for online gambling disorders.