Gambling Addiction

According to the NHS website, there are almost 600,000 problem gamblers in the UK as of late 2015. With easy access to online gaming from smartphones and other mobile devices, more and more people are trying their luck; unfortunately, many are getting into gambling addiction.

Gambling is something that no longer has to be done from a casino or betting shop; it can be done from home at any hour of the day or night. This is leading to an increased number of individuals developing gambling addictions that are ultimately destroying their lives and the lives of those they love.

While some people can bet responsibly, others will become addicted to the thrill of betting and will continue to bet large sums of money that they cannot afford to lose, despite knowing that in doing so, they are risking everything they have worked so hard to build. A gambling addiction can result in marriage breakdowns and homes being repossessed. Gambling addicts often rack up huge amounts of debt trying to feed their habit and they are more likely to become involved in criminal activities such as fraud or theft that can result in a prison sentence.

What is Problem Gambling?

Gambling, like alcohol, is a legal vice but, for those who gamble to such an extent that it causes harm to their home life, finances or health, it is classed as problem gambling. Gambling is a habit that requires a constant stream of cash and the reality is that most individuals simply cannot afford to keep ploughing money into betting on horses or online slot machines.

Problem gambling can affect individuals of all ages, gender, race and background. It is more likely to affect those who have started gambling at a young age or those with a family history of gambling addiction. Many people have referred to gambling addiction as the ‘secret’ or ‘hidden’ addiction because there are no obvious physical signs. In fact, only those closest to a gambling addiction would be aware that a problem exists.

Compulsive Gambling

Gambling addiction is also known as compulsive or pathological gambling. This is an impulse-control disorder whereby sufferers have no control over their urge to gamble. Despite knowing that gambling is hurting them and their loved ones, they will continue to do so. They will continue to bet until they have no money left to gamble with, and then they may become desperate to get their hands on cash to feed their habit.

Some compulsive gamblers will sell items from their home or borrow money from friends and family members. They may tell lies about what the money is for, and when they cannot pay the money back and this source of funding dries up, they may resort to desperate measures and steal to allow them to carry on gambling.

Causes of Gambling Addiction

There are many reasons some people become addicted to gambling; below are a few examples:

  • Boredom: Some turn to gambling out of boredom. Gambling provides them with something to do and many online gaming sites have a large community where members chat to each other while placing bets. For some people, this becomes a part of their daily life and they spend more time with the individuals on the gaming site than they do with people in the ‘real’ world.
  • Thrill: A large number of people gamble because they become addicted to the thrill or adrenaline rush. To them, it is not about winning. They live for the high or anticipation that each bet brings and they simply cannot get enough. They begin to take bigger risks by placing larger bets in order to get the same rush.
  • Stressful Situations: Many individuals gamble to escape the reality of their lives. If they have stressful lives, they may choose to spend time gambling as a way to distract themselves from what is really going on around them.

Signs of a Gambling Addiction

Because gambling addiction is known as the ‘secret’ addiction, it can be difficult to spot any physical signs. However, there are a number of behavioural signals that you can look out for if you think a loved one is suffering from a gambling addiction. Below are a few examples:

  • Becoming defensive if questioned about gambling
  • Lying about how much money they have spent on gambling
  • Talking about gambling or betting constantly
  • Telling family members that they are gambling to provide a better future
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home or work
  • Avoiding spending time with family and friends in favour of gambling
  • Becoming secretive about what they are doing or how much they are spending
  • Hiding bank statements.

Do You Have a Gambling Addiction?

If you are worried about a gambling problem of your own, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you spending more time than you planned on gambling?
  • Do you spend more money than you can afford on gambling?
  • Are you worried about paying bills because you have spent money on betting?
  • Do you constantly think about gambling?
  • Have you lost interest in activities that you once enjoyed because of gambling?
  • Do you argue with family members or friends about gambling?
  • Are you lying about the time you spend gambling or are you hiding it from others?
  • Do you regularly gamble until you have no money left?
  • Do you chase losses despite not having the money to do so?
  • Do you continue to gamble even when you win?
  • Are you borrowing from friends or family to fund your gambling habit?
  • Do you feel guilty when you gamble?
  • Are you moody or irritable when you are not gambling?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, it is likely you have a gambling problem and need to get help immediately. Recovery Lighthouse can help you overcome your addiction to gambling before it spirals out of control. Do not ignore your problem any longer get in touch with us to start taking control of your life again before it is too late.

What You Might Not Know About Gambling Addiction

Many myths may be causing you to think you do not have a problem with gambling. Many people believe that in order to be a problem gambler one has to gamble every day, but this is not the case. Gambling is a problem if it is having a negative impact on your life, regardless of the frequency. You could be gambling once a week, but if you are gambling your entire pay packet and leaving no money to pay the bills, then it is a problem.

Others assume that gambling is only an issue if the person betting cannot afford to lose the money. Again, this is not the case. Although gambling addiction causes financial hardship for many, it can damage individuals in other ways. Gambling addiction can affect relationships and cause marriages to break down.

Treatment for Addiction

A gambling addiction must be treated as soon as possible because of the grave consequences for the entire family. There are many types of treatment available for gambling addiction. Here at Recovery Lighthouse, we use a number of tools and techniques including group therapy, individual therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.

We know it is important for patients to understand what triggers their addiction so that they can learn how to deal with these triggers. We have a large team of experienced counsellors and therapists who will tailor a treatment plan for each patient based on the patient’s needs and circumstances. We know that gambling addiction will only get worse if it is not treated; we can help you to get to the bottom of your condition and teach you how to overcome it.

This may be a long, tough process but we are confident that, with the right support, you can learn how to live a happy and healthy life away from the grip of gambling. We can help you control your urges to gamble so that you can concentrate on spending time with your loved ones. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Recovery Lighthouse today if you need help for a gambling addiction.


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