For many people all around the world, gambling is fun. However, in the same way that most people can enjoy alcohol, but some suffer from addiction, gambling can be the same. A small percentage of people who start gambling, whether slots, casinos, live casinos or sports betting, will develop into a problem. Gambling addictions affect those who cannot control their gambling and a fun pastime can quickly have serious detrimental effects on your relationships, mental health and finances.
If you want to know more about gambling addictions, how to spot the sign you or a loved one may be suffering from it, resources to help you and more, carry on reading below.
How to Spot a Gambling Addiction
Acknowledging that you have a gambling addiction can be hard, and problem gamblers can become great at hiding their problem from loved ones. If you think you may be suffering from problem gambling or you are concerned about a family member or friend, look out for the following signs:
- Are you gambling above other areas of your life, such as your relationships and career?
- Are you constantly thinking about gambling and have an uncontrollable urge to play?
- Are you lying to loved ones about your financial situation and the amount of time or money you are spending gambling?
- Do you find yourself becoming irritable when you are not gambling?
- Do you try to increase the thrill of the game by increasingly betting larger and larger sums of money?
- Do you find yourself gambling to try and mask other feelings such as stress, anxiousness, helplessness or depression?
If you find yourself suffering from one or more of these points, you may have a gambling addiction that you must acknowledge and seek help for. A professional will be able to diagnose this problem for you and help you get therapy. This can uncover whether your gambling problem is just that or whether it stems from other more deep-rooted issues.
Ways to Get Assistance for a Gambling Addiction
Before you can get any help for your problem gambling, you will need to acknowledge the problem. One of the easiest ways to do this is to speak with a trusted family member or friend who can offer support. Some of how you can receive help for a gambling addiction if you feel this may be a problem include:
- Distractions – try to find distractions to your gambling habit such as hobbies and socialising
- Delayed gratification – while you may be tempted to gamble in the moment, think about the feeling you will get afterwards if you can stop yourself
- Talking about it – one of the best ways to acknowledge and gambling problem and to start and seek help is to talk about it with trusted friends and family members
- Use gambling exemption tools – there are lots of great tools that you can use at online gambling sites such as self-exclusion, time-limits and deposit limits to help you control a gambling problem
If none of these work, you may need professional help from a charity or problem gambling organisation as listed below.
Gambling Addiction Resources and Support Groups
If you know that you have a gambling problem, no matter how big or small, it is time to seek help. There may also be people who want to seek help on behalf of a loved one. The good news is that there are many great organisations that you can get in touch with today if you are suffering from a gambling problem in the UK. Some of our top recommendations of organisations you should contact include:
- The National Centre for Behavioural Addictions – at this centre, you will find two organisations – the National Centre for Gaming Disorders and the National Problem Gambling Clinic. Anyone aged 16 or over can get help at this clinic, where they deal with complex problems that contribute to this addiction
- Gamblers Anonymous UK – if you would prefer to join a local support group, head on over to Gamblers Anonymous UK. This group follows the 12 step programme, which many people are familiar with as it is closely associated with Alcoholics Anonymous. Gamblers can get help here as well as their friends and family
- Gordon Moody Association – The Gordon Moody Association was created to help problem gamblers restart their lives after suffering from an addiction. They use residential courses to provide help and support. You can get more information about the services that they offer by email at [email protected] or by phone at 01384 241 292
- GamCare – one of the first organisations many problem gamblers reach out to is the industry-funded GamCare where you can receive help, advice and counselling for your addiction. You can get in touch with them today by calling their helpline on 0808 8020 133
If you are struggling with a gambling addiction, do not wait any longer. Speak to a professional at one of these top organisations to get the help you need.
What is a Gambling Addiction?
A mental health condition some gamblers may face is addiction. Gambling addictions cause an impulse control disorder where the person can’t stop gambling. If the person wants to stop their gambling and it has a serious impact on their finances, mental health and relationships, they may struggle to do so with a gambling addiction. All gambling problems are serious but do come in various levels of intensity. The most common types of impulsive gambling are:
- Binge gambling – if you gamble only at specific times, but when you do you show symptoms such as betting more than your budget, you may have a binge gambling problem. This can be a serious form of gambling addiction as it can appear on the outside as though you do not have a problem with gambling not being a daily requirement
- Problem gambling – although this is not as strong as compulsive gambling, problem gambling can still cause havoc and destruction to your life. The effects of problem gambling can be far-ranging and impact everything from your finances to your relationships with loved ones. If you find yourself trying to chase losses and your gambling is not entirely under control, you may be suffering from problem gambling
- Compulsive gambling – if you are gambling without care of the consequences of winning or losing, you are suffering from compulsive gambling. This is the most serious form of gambling addiction and will normally affect those who already have an addictive personality. When you are gambling with no consideration to a budget or knowing exceeding your budget to chase losses, you must seek help
A gambling problem that starts small can always become much more serious and so it is vital to take action immediately.
Why You Should Quit Problem Gambling
No matter what type of unhealthy habit you have, you should always seek help as early as possible to ensure the problem does not get worse, and the same is true for problem gambling. There are lots of great benefits to quitting gambling if you are suffering from a problem or addiction including:
- Relationships – problem gambling can have a devastating impact on your personal relationships, whether with family, friends or a partner. Not only will you be suffering, but they may also suffer from this addiction when finances and mental health are involved. By quitting your addictive gambling, you are likely to see these relationships massively improve
- Finances – addictive habits, whether gambling, smoking, or alcohol, can greatly impact your personal finances. If you are spending more than your budget allows, you can end up in serious financial difficulty that can consequently affect your relationship and mental health. With problems such as bankruptcy, legal issues, losing your home and poverty all possible outcomes of a gambling addiction, it is important to kick this habit early
- Mental health – if you are losing money and relationships, this will negatively impact your mental health. Stress can quickly become much more serious, leading to depression and sometimes suicide. Have your mental health be in the best place possible by quitting your problem gambling and seeking help today
Tips to Halt Problematic Gambling Behaviour
Problem gambling is an addiction but like other types of addiction, it can be stopped with the right treatment. As this is a mental health issue, there are many different types of help that you can seek, including therapy, counselling, and gambling addictions organisations. Here, we have listed for you some of the most popular treatments for gambling addiction that you may want to consider if you feel you have a problem:
Organisations for Problematic Gambling Behaviour
For problem gamblers, therapy and counselling are often combined with meetings at an organisation that deals with this type of addiction. We have created an extensive resource list of all the best gambling addiction organisations in the UK that you can contact today should you need help. A great place to go for more information is GamCare as they can provide you with support, counselling and lots of free information. No matter what stage you are at with your addiction, it is best to get in touch with an organisation such as this as quickly as possible. Here, you will also talk with other people who face similar challenges to you and get help and advice.
Therapy and Counselling for Problematic Gambling Behaviour
A popular treatment method for problematic gambling behaviour is therapy and counselling. Working with a professional in this field can help you work through your problem and may help get to the root cause. This has been a very successful method for many people and this is predominantly put down to psychotherapy focusing on where the problem gambling is emanating from and fixing the roots. It will also improve the gambler’s mental health to speak with someone and provide better results for quitting gambling and other problem habits over a longer period of time. This is usually the method problem gamblers will opt for first due to the high success rates.
Medical Treatment for Problematic Gambling Behaviour
Medical treatments for problem gambling behaviour do not exist in one form. However, some medications can be combined that may help to curb the habit and urge such as anti-seizure medication and anti-depressants. This should be discussed with medical professionals.
If you are suffering from a gambling addiction, you must seek help immediately to stop the problem from becoming worse. Speak to one of the organisations listed above who will be able to provide you with the necessary resources and counselling that you may need to start your rehabilitation journey.