For many people, gambling is an enjoyable, part-time activity that doesn’t cause any harm for them or people with whom they associate. However, when gambling gets out of control, it’s important to understand that it may come with potentially destructive risks and long-standing damages.
Fortunately, this addictive behaviour can be reversed; there’re strategies that those affected can use to identify and help those who have problem gambling. For instance, if one gambles to the point of hefty debt, problematic relationship, or deteriorating health, chances are he or she has poor gambling habits.
This page outlines some of the mechanisms through which you can identify if you (or a close person to you) has problem gambling. It also outlines various helpful and well-established organisations where the recovery process may begin, privately and anonymously.
How to Spot Gambling Problem
There are various signs that may help indicate that a person’s gambling habits have become addictive and compulsive, which may necessitate professional help. Therapists suggest that of a person shows at least four of the following symptoms for a period of more than 12 months, he/she may have problem gambling. We have grouped these symptoms into ‘General Signs’ and ‘Serious Signs’:
- Frequently shows some signs of distress (nervous, edgy, sweating, depression)
- Has gambling superstitions or rituals
- Constantly shows deep frustration (groaning, granting, breaking things)
- Places bets frequently without even reacting to what’s going on around them
- Tries to place various bets simultaneously
- Puts all the winnings straight back into betting
- Tries to withdraw money immediately after winning
- Becomes agitated or angry after losing
- Finds it difficult to stop gambling
- Gambles for long periods without taking a break
- Having serious symptoms of depression such as crying, shaking
- Borrowing money from friends, family, or financial institutions to gamble
- Hygiene, appearance, and eating habits deteriorate because of gambling
- Stealing money to place bets
- Prioritising betting over friends or family times
- Close people start raising concerns about a person’s gambling problems
- Lying to family and friends to conceal gambling behaviour
- Spending large sums of money for gambling without having limits
- Experiencing serious issues at work because of betting (lateness, missing work)
- Being completely unable to stop gambling even after wiliness to do so
If you suspect you have a gambling problem, the first thing you’d (just like in other form of personal problem) is admit that you have a problem and needs help. If the problem is with a close friend or relative, the initial step is to get them to talk to you, eventually advising them on the importance of seeking professional help.
There are various organisations not only in the UK but also across the globe that help people with problem gambling recover while maintaining utmost privacy and anonymity. Some of these online and land-based institutions are some of the most recognised and effective for people with damaging gambling habits.
GambleAware is one of the most prominent independent organisations tasked to fund research, education, and treatment to persons with problem gambling in UK and beyond. The institution’s fundamental aims are to broaden public understanding on the harms of compulsive betting and provision of healing strategies for those needing recovery.
GameAware is available for those seeking help from 8 AM to midnight every day of the week via freephone (0808 8020 133), live chat, and Netline. A brief skim through the organisation’s website will reveal its upcoming general meetings, various reviews, strategic recovery plans, and other ingenious tools.
Together with GambleAware, GameCare is one of the leading national providers for information, support, advice, and free treatment for any person affected by problem gambling. With the organisations chart rooms, users can use live text to chat with specialists on matters problem gambling and find possible solutions.
GambleAware and GameCare work hand in hand to find solution to the same course—provision of free support and treatment for people affected by compulsive gambling. As such, you can also talk to specialists in the organisation via toll-free line (0808 8020 133), live chat, or engage in forums to share your experiences with others.
3.National Problem Gambling Clinic
The National Problem Gambling Clinic offers a repertoire of treatments and therapies for persons affected by compulsive or pathological gambling. This may include one-to-one therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), group therapy, as well as onward referral to suitable aftercare services.
The physical address of this clinic is 282 North End Road, London SW6 1NH while the care team can be reached via 020 7381 7722 from 8 AM to midnight. The National Problem Gambling Clinic is closely working with the above-mentioned care providers to deliver the most appropriate package for patients experiencing difficulties with gambling.
Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship where individuals who have problematic gambling behaviours can share their experiences, hope, and strength towards a common goal—recovery. The organisation’s website offers a platform for compulsive gamblers to find a meeting within a nearby region where one can share experiences.
The site also offers various forms of help for persons with addictive gambling conducts including resourceful literature, Chat Room, and a Forum. The Meeting Finder tool is at the core of Gamblers Anonymous objective, and meeting are available every single day across the week.