For most people, playing slots online is a bit of harmless fun to be enjoyed from time to time. However, for some it can become a problem. This type of behaviour is broadly called “problem gambling” and is not limited to online slots, but all forms of gambling.
Psychologists class gambling addiction as a progressive addiction. This means that the process of becoming addicted to gambling is a gradual one and does not happen overnight. It can take years to become a problem for the person in question. Even though the addiction is progressive, there are still serious negative physical, psychological, and social consequences to online slot addiction.
In fact, the issue is so serious that it is included the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fifth edition (DSM-5). The association is widely recognized as the leading authority on psychiatric and psychological problems. This is why it is so important to know what the symptoms and triggers of online slot addiction are.
Symptoms of Online Slot Addiction
The first way to help someone (it could be you) who has an online slot addiction is to know what the symptoms are. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the symptoms of gambling addiction include:
- The necessity of gambling with more and more money to feel the same amount of excitement.
- Signs of irritability when an attempt is made to stop gambling.
- A number of unsuccessful tries at stopping, controlling or decreasing gambling activities.
- Constantly thinking about gambling and making plans for the next opportunity to play online slot machines.
- Playing online slot machines when feeling upset.
- Going back to playing online slots after losing large amounts of money.
- Lying to colleagues, family members and friends to hide gambling endeavours.
- Relying on other people for money to spend on gambling activities.
While these symptoms are a good indication that someone has an online slot addiction, it is very important to remember that this is not a financial problem. Rather, it is an emotional issue that often has devastating financial consequences.
Apart from the financial consequences, there are also emotional ones. For example, this can include missing work and important family events to take part in gambling activities.
Finally, people with an online slot addiction may show symptoms of depression, which impacts their physical well-being.
Triggers of Online Slot Addiction
It can be difficult to predict who will become addicted to playing online slot machine games, but there are certain life events that can trigger this kind of behaviour. These include:
- Retirement: Suddenly people have a lot more time on their hands, which can lead to increased online slot machine activities.
- Traumatic circumstances: In this case, playing online slots is a way to escape from reality and the circumstances that are traumatic.
- Job-related stress: Similar to traumatic circumstances, job-related stress can cause people to turn to online slot machines as a hope for getting away from their current work situation.
- Loneliness: Loneliness can lead to a number of ills and many people that are lonely turn to online slot machines to help them forget about the lack of people around them.
if you know someone who may have an online slot addiction, contact your local helpline or counselling centre so they can get the treatment they need.