Internet Dependence Does Not Lead to Gambling

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A new study of college students found excessive Internet use was not associated with problem gambling.

Both Internet dependence and problem gambling are often viewed as behavioral addictions, and as such might be expected to affect the same individuals. However, N.A. Dowling, PhD, from the University of Melbourne, and M. Brown from Monash University, both in Australia, conclude in the article entitled, “Commonalities in the Psychological Factors Associated with Problem Gambling and Internet Dependence,” seem to be separate disorders that share common underlying psychological profiles, which has implications for their management.

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The authors of this study have reported that similar vulnerabilities, attributable to feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, loneliness, and social isolation, appear to contribute to excesses in Internet use and gambling behavior. They based this information on their assessment of a small group of university students in Australia.

Internet addiction, also described as pathological Internet use, is defined as an individual’s inability to control his or her use of the Internet, which eventually causes psychological, social, school, and/or work difficulties in a person’s life. Currently 9 - 15 million people in the United States use the internet every day. Every three months the rate of use increases by 25%.

“It is clear that effectively evaluating and treating these disorders requires a clear understanding of the individual symptomatology and internal conflicts particular to each patient,” says Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCIA, editor-in-chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

There is treatment for both these addictions and counselors and psychologists have studied compulsive behaviors and their treatments for years now, and nearly any well-trained mental health professional will be able to help people slowly curve their behaviors.

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