A new report in the leading medical journal The Lancet indicates that online casinos bring new temptations for problem gamblers, but that the Internet should offer them a treatment for their addiction.
The report which was published last Wednesday in The Lancet says that researchers are increasingly making progress in recognizing and understanding of problem gambling, but in the future they have to keep up with the growing possibilities for online casino gambling. David Hodgins, a professor at the University of Calgary and co-author of the report said: “It’s a moving target.” The report reviewed the status of studies and treatments forcasino gambling addiction. The urge to gamble is internationally, but studies show that there are large variations between countries and regions on the number of people who have such an urge to gamble that they are seen as compulsive gamblers. For example in Norway, 1 in 500 people are addicted to gambling, while in Hong Kong the number is as high as 1 in 20. Only 10 percent of these groups of addicted gamblers seek help for their problem.
The American Psychiatric Association has categorized gambling addiction as an impulse control disorder in 1980, and they are now re-considering their diagnosis. Some problem gamblers are trying to prevent gambling by avoiding public places where they can close a bet, but the Internet brings a new challenge for problem gamblers because they can easy take a gamble from the safety of their own home. Hodgins said: “It is much more difficult to avoid online gambling, gambling sites often solicited potential clients via email.” But he also said that the Internet encourage more studies on how gambling addiction can be treated, which solves that problem gamblers have easy access to Internet gambling. One of the ideas to help people in the same way as self-help groups like Gamblers Anonymous, is to create an online forum for problem gamblers. People with a gambling addiction often have other psychiatric disorders or are dependent on stimulants, but according to The Lancet, there is a lack of studies on how to deal with those situations.
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