Gambling Addiction – Spotting The Signs
For thousands of years, gambling has been one of the top forms of entertainment. In the UK, everything from slots to casino games to bingo has become a firm favourite and players now have a plethora of exciting games to pick and choose from. While casino venues are still visited today, many players also opt for the more convenient option which is online casinos. The vast majority of players never have any issues gambling but for a small percentage of players, it can become a problem. Gambling addictions can come in many forms and can be as serious as it affecting your finances and personal relationships or it could even be that you are simply struggling to stay within your budget.
If you want to find out more about gambling addictions and the various organisations and charities in the UK that can help, make sure to carry on reading.
What is a Gambling Addiction?
Did you know that gambling addictions are categorised as mental health conditions? As it is classed in this way, it is also treated like this and is commonly known as an impulse control disorder. People can experience impulse control disorder and addiction in a variety of different ways with the most common being drugs and alcohol. When this mental health condition takes over a gambler, they will not be able to stop themselves from gambling, even when it is severely affecting their daily life. There are many levels to the seriousness of gambling addiction but while you may not feel yours is that serious, it is vitally important to resolve it as soon as possible, otherwise, it will most likely get worse and be harder to eventually overcome.
The Different Forms of Gambling Addiction
With gambling addictions, there are three forms of this impulsive behaviour that appear most frequently:
- Compulsive gambling – this is the most serious form of impulsive gambling as it covers when players no longer care if they win or lose, they will constantly be looking for new ways to gamble and they do not have any sort of budget. You will normally find that this type of player has a personality trait whereby it is not solely gambling that is an issue as this addictive trait manifests in other areas of their lives
- Problem gambling – problem gamblers usually find that gambling is having a negative effect on their lives and that they cannot control themselves 100% when gambling. While this person will be looking to chase losses, it is still not quite as serious yet as a compulsive gambler
- Binge gambling – this is a common form of gambling addiction that many players may not recognise at first as being harmful. For the most part, these players will think they are in total control of their gambling but then end up losing this control for a period of time. They may be able to stay away from gambling but then end up losing control and picking up bad habits as soon as they return to start playing again
If you recognise yourself as any one of these types of players, it is important that you get the help you need today. What you deem as a small gambling issue can very quickly turn into a compulsive gambling problem.
Why You Should Stop Problem Gambling
Here are some of the top reasons why you should stop problem gambling today:
- Financial control – a huge problem for gambling addicts is the impact it has on their finances. Gamblers should always have a budget that they stick rigidly to. When they do not and spend money that they do not have, this is when major financial problems can set in and have devastating effects including poverty, legal issues, losing your home and bankruptcy. No one wants to have these problems and stresses in their life, which is one of the main reasons why problem gamblers set out to stop and take back control of their finances
- Save relationships – problem gambling does not just affect the person doing it, it also affects those around who love and care for them including partners, family and friends. The big financial impacts can be hugely detrimental to these relationships and drive them away, especially if the problem gambler resorts to lying about their problems. When you quit gambling for good, you can hold on to these relationships and make them even better
- Enhanced mental health – the combination of financial strain and deterioration of personal relationships can massively impact your mental health in a negative way, with depression and stress the most common mental health problems that can result. When you are able to stop your gambling habits, you will find it much easier to get improve your mental health and wellbeing
If you want to improve your finances, relationships and mental health by taking control of your gambling addiction, take the first step and get help from one of the many organisations and charities operating in the UK.
Gambling Addiction Symptoms
If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you may have a gambling addiction:
- Do you become irritated when you are not gambling?
- Do you have an uncontrollable urge to gamble?
- Are you always trying to chase losses?
- Do you always look for the thrill when betting more?
- Do you put gambling above your family, friends and partners?
- Is gambling more important to you than looking after your finances?
- Are you lying to loved ones about your gambling problem?
- Are you having to ask people for money to fund your addiction?
- Do you find gambling is always on your mind?
- Are you constantly stopping and then restarting gambling?
No matter what type of addiction a person is suffering from, they will become very good at hiding it, and gambling problems are no different. That is why it is so important to be aware of the symptoms of gambling addiction. If you feel that all or some of these symptoms apply to you, then you need to seek professional help to advise and help treat your issues. What is also great about professional help is that they can make an assessment on why you are suffering from these issues and whether it is a mental illness or even another hidden trauma driving you to gamble.
Getting Help for a Gambling Addiction
Once you have accepted your gambling addiction, it is time to seek the help and treatment that you need to recover. There are various types of treatments out there that can help you and you can seek help by:
- Talking to your closest family members, partner or friends about your problem
- Finding other interests and hobbies that will distract you from gambling
- Think about how it will affect your loved ones if you go back to gambling
- Put in place the tools available to you that help stop gambling such as self-exclusion from online casino sites
For some, this will be enough to get their gambling problem under control but others may need to seek out professional help.
How to Stop Problem Gambling
There is no single method used to stop all problem gamblers and for many, it may take trying a few different methods to find which one works best for you. Here are some of the most popular options to stop gambling addiction:
Charities and Organisations for Gambling Addictions
One of the first places many problem gamblers turn to is gambling charities and organisations based in the UK. These organisations can work with individuals to help find which form of therapy is going to be best for them and is a great first step before speaking to a professional. It is also a great place to go to speak with other problem gamblers facing similar issues. If you want to know more about where you can find the best organisations in the UK to help with gambling addiction, visit GamCare today.
Therapy and Counselling
One of the most effective ways to resolve gambling problems is to get therapy and counselling. If you are unsure of how to access this form of treatment, the best place to start is with gambling addiction charities and organisations as they can put you in touch with the best counsellors and will prepare you for the treatment. Psychotherapy is one of the most common forms of treatment gambling addicts will receive and is very effective as it can help to find what is causing players to gamble excessively and treat the problem at its root. This also is the best way to ensure that players do not go back to their gambling addiction and that their mental health issues are dealt with in the long term.
The last option for problem gamblers is medical treatment, however, there is no one set treatment that is guaranteed to work and is used on all gambling addicts. A common type of medication provided is antidepressants or anti-seizure treatment as these can potentially help players decrease their urge to gamble. Therapy, counselling and working with gambling organisations are usually the first option and will help the majority of players.
Problem Gambling Support and Resources
When gambling is no longer fun and is having a serious, detrimental impact on your life, it is time to quit. There are many resources, organisations and charities out there that can help you quit if you are struggling to resist the urge to gamble. Visit the NHS website to get started and check out the below organisations that can help you overcome this addiction:
- Gordon Moody Association – this brilliant charity assists problem gamblers with rebuilding their lives when suffering from a gambling addiction through residential courses. Call 01384 241 292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to a member of staff
- GamCare – this reputable charity gets its funding through the gambling industry and gives problem gamblers counselling and advice. Call their helpline number on 0808 8020 133
- Gamblers Anonymous UK – problem gamblers can attend local support groups that offer help to family and friends of addicts. In these support groups, the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 step programme is the basis for the work they do
- The National Centre for Behavioural Addictions – this organisation holds the National Problem Gambling Clinic and the National Centre for Gaming Disorders. If you are aged 16 or over, you could be referred to this clinic for help with serious and complex gambling addictions
Are you ready to kick your gambling problem? Then do not wait another day. Speak to one of the amazing organisations that we have listed above to get the help you need. Problem gamblers also have the option to visit the NHS website which has an extensive range of resources that can help them get on the right track.