Gambling addiction and treatment.
We all have a little gamble now and then and a lot of the time it doesn’t involve money, but for many people gambling can become a way of life and ultimately it can destroy their way of life and those who are close to them.
If you believe that you have a gambling problem then the first step is to know the symptoms of gambling addiction, and then to understand that there is help out there. You don’t have to try to conquer this on your own.
We will look at the problems associated with gambling and some addiction statistics and then you can make a choice to conquer this and start the journey of becoming free from this. Because there is a choice, and once you make that decision to move forward then you are already on that path to recovery.
I use a very structured approach to helping you overcome your gambling problem by using counselling, psychotherapy and hypnosis to help you lose the desire to gamble again. This can take a little time, but the outcome is certainly worth pursuing.
Cognitive behavioural therapy can help you address the thoughts and urges associated with wanting to gamble and the use of hypnosis to help with the feelings and the ‘habit’ aspect.
Gambling addiction statistics
In the UK, gambling is very much on the rise. It’s now even easier to open an account online with many of the hundreds of Gambling websites out there and there are even apps for smart phones which make gambling even more accessible, in particular, sites that offer bingo, betting and casino’s.
Approximately 1% of the UK has a gambling problem, that’s 1 in 100 people! This indicates that more help is needed to monitor this increase to make sure the figure doesn’t grow to the same level as drug addiction and alcohol addiction, which run at 3% or more.
It is also noted that problem gambling not only affects addicts life but that is will also impact on at least 15 others in an effort to support the addiction.
How does the addiction start? What are the symptoms
Normally the individual is introduced to gambling, such as a parent taking you to put a bet on a horse, or going to Bingo or some other type of money winning game. The actual win is very important and very often that excitement surrounding winning more than you bet takes a hold.
A lot of it has to do with fantasy and the thrill of the win, even when losing money, the addict will chase that win until the money has run out.
Then there is the urge to win back the loss. This often leads to the addict seeking funds from elsewhere. They may borrow money from family or friends and this will soon also run out as there is no way of paying it back. So they may turn to payday loans services of which there are many, but the worrying thing is that once that money has been lost, the interest rates on paying it back are astronomical and will very often push the person further and further into debt.
More often than not the problem gambler may become devious and lie about their addiction as it becomes too overwhelming to admit the problem to those close to them.
There are three main types of gambler.
Action Gambler phase
- Introduced by someone to gambling
- Begins at a younger age
- Occasional gambling
- Gambling becomes a friend
- Deviant behaviour
- Perhaps experienced a big win
- Frequent wins
- Fantasy about winning
- Increases the amount of money they bet with
- Bragging to others about winning
- Chase their losses
- Impacts on relationships
- Borrowing money
- Anxiety and depression
- Unable to pay back debts
- Sells things to fund addiction
- Blaming others
- Guilt and shame
- Possible suicidal thoughts
Escape Gambler phase
- Deny having a gambling problem
- Often starts later in life
- Faster progression of the compulsive behaviour
- Seeks to use gambling as a form of emotional escape (such as boredom)
- Mainly uses games of chance
- Experiences fewer big wins
- Becomes emotionally dependent on gambling
- Depression symptoms
- Very secretive about the gambling
- Guilt over the losses or lost time
- Loss of household money
- Tries desperately to stop gambling but does not want to
Pathological Gambler phase
- Preoccupied with gambling – always on the mind
- Thinking of ways in which to fund the gambling
- Constant need to gamble
- Increasing the amounts of money to gamble to increase the excitement
- Frequent unproductive efforts to control the gambling
- Restless, irritable when trying to quit gambling
- Using gambling as a way of escaping from problems
- Always chasing the losses with a win
- Lies to family members and those close to them
- Potential job loss, relationship breakdown or lost career opportunities due to gambling
- Relies on others to provide funds to get out of debt
Help for gamblers
There is help out there, but not enough. There is ‘gamblers anonymous’ and lots of self help programs on the Internet. But the first thing to recognise is that you need help. This has to come from you as an individual. You have to want to turn that corner and many addicts come to seem me through pressure from family members and the road ahead can be tough, especially if the addict refuses to believe that they have a problem.
You have to want to quit gambling for yourself, which will then have a positive impact on those around you. You have to want to see the program through, so that you have support in the process, so that you can learn to help yourself recognise the triggers and urges for gambling.
I have helped many gamblers to become free of the addiction and it must be noted that it needs to be addressed properly and that it takes a little time, but it is worth it to get back your self esteem and freedom. To take back control of your life so that it can be so much more enriching and beneficial.
I am here to help, so when you are ready for this change, give me a call or send me an email. Your confidentiality will always be respected.
Image courtesy of [Grant Cochrane] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net