Consequences Of Problem Gambling
In 2015 the Gambling Commission found that more than 2 million people in the UK are addicted to gambling or at risk of developing a problem. Gambling, especially online gambling, is one of the fastest-growing addictions in the world today.
As gambling addiction progresses, a persons life becomes focused on the next gambling fix and this can lead to desperation, depression and feelings of shame and fear. Unfortunately, many gamblers do not seek help until the problem is severe and they are facing financial ruin.
Very often another addiction such as alcohol dependence may co-exist along with gambling and it is essential that these other addictions are also treated.
The average person would be astonished how many people at Gamblers Anonymous meetings have been involved in suicide attempts and had ruined their lives through gambling in a relatively short period of time. Chris Burn, Gambling Therapist, Castle Craig.
Key Signs Of A Gambling Problem
Excessive gambling causes many problems: problems for your physical health, your emotional health, your lifestyle, your family and your friends. The following list features 10 symptoms that are typical of someone with a gambling addiction:
Gambling Addiction Signs And Symptoms
Gambling addiction is sometimes referred to as a hidden illness because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms like there are in drug or alcohol addiction. Problem gamblers also typically deny or minimize the problemeven to themselves. However, you may have a gambling problem if you:
Feel the need to be secretive about your gambling. You might gamble in secret or lie about how much you gamble, feeling others wont understand or that you will surprise them with a big win.
Have trouble controlling your gambling. Once you start gambling, can you walk away? Or are you compelled to gamble until youve spent your last dollar, upping your bets in a bid to win lost money back?
Gamble even when you dont have the money. You may gamble until youve spent your last dollar, and then move on to money you dont havemoney to pay bills, credit cards, or things for your children. You may feel pushed to borrow, sell, or even steal things for gambling money.
Have family and friends worried about you. Denial keeps problem gambling going. If friends and family are worried, listen to them carefully. Its not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Many older gamblers are reluctant to reach out to their adult children if theyve gambled away their inheritance, but its never too late to make changes for the better.
Need to talk to someone?
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Further Resources And Information
GamCare runs a national helpline and live chat service to support people with a gambling problem. They also offer free talking therapy.
If youre a young person worried about your own or someone elses gambling, contact Big Deal.
Friends And Family Of People With Gambling Problems
If someone close to you has a gambling problem, it can put a huge stress on you and your household finances. Try to encourage them to get help to deal with their debts and gambling.
If youre struggling to deal with someone elses gambling and debt problems, get specialist advice. This will ensure youre doing the best you can for your loved one and looking after yourself at the same time.
GamCare offer confidential support and advice for family and friends of those with gambling problems. You can contact them online or by phone on 0808 8020 133 every day 8am to midnight
Gam-Anon run regular peer support groups for the friends and family of people with gambling problems. These meetings give you a chance to share experiences confidentially with other people in the same position.
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If You Were Allowed To Gamble When You Shouldnt Have
Gambling companies shouldn’t let you gamble if:
- youre on the list of self-excluded people – find out more about self exclusion on the GambleAware website
- youre under 18 years old
If you think you shouldnt have been allowed to gamble you can complain to the Gambling Commission on their website. They can take action if they think a gambling company hasn’t followed the rules.
Shops shouldnt sell you National Lottery tickets or scratchcards if youre under 18 years old. If you think they shouldnt have sold you or someone else a ticket or scratchcard you can complain to the National Lottery on their website.
S You Can Take To Help Someone With A Gambling Problem
If you suspect someone you know has a gambling problem, ways to help are available however, the most important thing you can do is to encourage them to get help from a professional. We can assist you in finding help for a loved if you call . Its important to remember that even though a persons gambling has affected you to the point where youre ready for them to change, they might not be ready yet. You can offer support and seek professional help with how to proceed, but you cant make someone ready to change.
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The Impact Of Gambling Addiction On The Individual
If you have found yourself drowning in a sea of debt because of a gambling addiction that has spiralled out of control, you are not alone. Gambling addiction is an illness that can happen to anyone. In the beginning it may have been a source of enjoyment, but over time, you may have become preoccupied with it to the point where your every waking moment was taken up with either gambling or thinking about gambling.
Gambling addiction can take over an individuals life and can destroy relationships and finances. You may have heard how gambling addiction affects the family, or you may be living such a life right now, where you are avoiding spending time with those you love in favour of gambling. Maybe you have done things that you thought you never would including lying to your family members or stealing from them to fund the habit that you cannot control.
Perhaps you are at a stage where you are hiding your addiction from the people around you. This is very common in gambling addiction. It is easy to gamble in secret. In fact, many problem gamblers will be feeding their habit while sitting in the same room as their family members or friends. Because it is easy to gamble from a smartphone, it is possible to be sitting there losing thousands of pounds while the other people in the room are completely oblivious to what is happening. It is for this reason that gambling addiction is often referred to as the secret or hidden addiction.
Be Supportive During Their Treatment
Gambling can be a challenging problem to overcome.
As with any addiction, it is usually a big part of the gamblers life and takes up a lot of their time.
When it comes time to address the problem and change the behavior, it is easier to do when others are there to help distract and refocus the gambler.
It is also not helpful when loved ones are judgmental and negative toward the gambler, as that tends to increase the chances of a relapse.
Those who overcome addiction successfully do so with an active support system, understanding family members and determination on the part of the gambler and those around him or her to push through and succeed no matter what.
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How I Beat My Gambling Addiction And Started Paying Off 100000 In Debt
If youâre one of the ~20 million people in Britain experiencing harm caused by gambling, you could be particularly vulnerable to relapsing during the coronavirus lockdown. You might be bored stuck at home, with emotions running high, or struggling financially after losing work or going on furlough.
For anyone struggling with gambling addiction, Chris, a 38 year-old father of two from Brentwood, Essex, shares how he beat his gambling addiction and started paying off his Â£100,000 debt, with support from his family, self-exclusion schemes, Gamblers Anonymous, and Monzo’s gambling block.
TW: suicide and alcohol abuse
How Problem Gambling Happens
Some people seem to be more likely to develop a gambling problem than others.
Men tend to be more vulnerable to developing a gambling problem than women, likely because women usually gamble less than men.
While a gambling problem can start at any age, people who start as teenagers or young adults can grow into problem gamblers. Children as young as 7 can struggle to control how much time they spend playing video and mobile games, many of which ask for micro-transactions and payments. Older people who feel isolated or bored can also be attracted to gambling.
People who work in casinos, betting shops or arcades can be more likely to develop a gambling habit.
Certain types of gambling can be more likely to lead to a problem than others:
- mobile or internet gambling like betting or bingo websites and apps
- video poker
- the stock market
- playing sports for money
Engaging in these activities doesn’t mean you have a problem with gambling, but its important to be aware that these types of gambling are particularly addictive.
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Discuss The Option Of Medication
Medication can be helpful to those with a gambling addiction.
Their addiction may be tied to compulsive behaviors due to a mental illness.
This mental illness may not be controllable through behavior modification or effort on the part of the gambler.
This is where medication can come into play.
When the underlying conditions are controlled with medication, then the gambling problem can be the sole focus and gain better results.
Dealing With Gambling Addiction Relapses
A gambling addiction relapse is not a failure verdict. It does not mean that treatment has failed, nor does it reflect lack of will power from the recovering person. Rather, relapse can be a brutal but essential learning point for some people recovering from gambling addiction. Relapse is a powerful experience that can become an important part of the recovery process when addressed properly. It can be the necessary evil that will reinvigorate ones commitment to recovery.
Though undesirable relapses are a common part of recovery and they can be overwhelming for the one who is recovering and their loved ones. Dont despair. If you slip back into your old habit, its not the end of your recovery journey, but a sure sign that its time to re-evaluate and change your strategy. The main goal should be to stop gambling as soon as possible.
A relapse should not be confused with a slip. A slip, is also known as a lapse, is a single unplanned gambling incident, when a person has a very brief slip where they gamble, but instantly regrets the decision and stop immediately. A relapse is a return to gambling after a period of sobriety.
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What To Do If You Live With Someone Who Is Struggling With Gambling
If your partner is gambling and has lost control of the situation, it can have a devastating impact on your finances and relationship.
Signs your partner is hiding a gambling addiction include:
- being secretive about their finances
- being cagey or defensive about money
- hiding bank statements
- taking money out of accounts without explanation.
Of course, these could be signs of other problems so the first thing to do is get to the bottom of things.
When To Get Debt Advice
Ignoring your debts is likely to make the situation worse so its important to talk to someone and get help.
If youre not able to make repayments on debts and are behind on your bills, now is the time to get free debt advice.
A debt adviser will help you to find ways to manage your debts. Its a good idea to let them know that your debt is a result of gambling as theyll be able to offer tailored advice and solutions for you and your situation.
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Are You A Problem Gambler 10 Questions To Answer
Some self-help groups and charities provide a questionnaire to potential members and applicants worried that they may be addicted to gambling. Typical questions may include:
- Have you ever lost a job as a result of gambling?
- Have you ever lost an important relationship as a result of gambling?
- Has gambling negatively affected your reputation?
- Have you ever borrowed money to gamble which you have then been unable to pay off?
- Have you ever gambled in order to pay off debts?
- Have you or any loved ones ever gone hungry because you have gambled away food money?
- Have you ever sold a treasured item to finance gambling?
- Have you ever committed a crime to finance gambling?
- Do you feel the urge to gamble when you are unhappy?
- Do you feel unhappy with yourself after you have gambled?
Use Honesty To Encourage Honesty
Modeling is important for adults as well as children.
This is an important factor when considering a key factor in gambling situations, which is a lack of honesty.
It is important for people in a gamblers life to be honest, even when they have bad days or backslide.
This encourages the gambler to be honest and let people know when they are struggling with the desire to gamble.
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Addiction Monthly Free Family Day
Our addictions family day takes place once a month and is led by an addictions and family specialist therapist. It consists of two groups.
One group is for family and partners only. It will offer them education in not only how to deal with the addicted person, but also how to safeguard themselves in this difficult situation. This can allow you to help your loved one in a healthy way while still being able to lead your own life.
The other group is to bring together the families and partners and the addicted person. It gives the addicted person the opportunity to learn how their addiction has affected family members and partners. It gives a forum for them both to express their thoughts and feelings.
How Addictions Can Affect You
The strain of managing an addiction can seriously damage your work life and relationships. In the case of substance misuse , an addiction can have serious psychological and physical effects.
Some studies suggest a person’s risk of becoming addicted is partly genetic, but environmental factors, such as being around other people with addictions, are also thought to increase the risk.
Behaviours such as substance misuse can be a way of blocking out difficult issues. Unemployment and poverty can trigger addiction, along with stress and emotional or professional pressure.
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Encourage Them To Get Help From A Professional
With gambling, it is important to work with a professional.
This is particularly important because it allows an outside professional to determine the underlying causes and what treatments are required.
A professional is also objective, which is very important in situations of addiction, which causes very strong emotional reactions from loved ones.
The professional can provide the most accurate analysis of the situation, why the gambling is such a problem and how best to address the addiction and be able to move past it.
Limit How Much Money You Can Spend Gambling
- Pay all your essential bills, like rent/mortgage, utilities, council tax, food, and childcare costs, as soon as you get paid.
- Set yourself a weekly limit on how much youre willing to spend on gambling, and be sure to stick to it.
- If you go out to gamble, leave your debit and credit cards at home and only take cash, so you cant spend more than planned.
- On gambling websites and apps, set a limit on your account so you cant overspend.
- Talk to your bank about blocking certain websites or locations, like betting websites or casinos.
- Use GAMSTOP to block yourself from accessing online gambling sites and gambling apps. GAMSTOP doesnt cover every site or app operating in the UK, but you can contact ones you use that arent signed up to this scheme and ask them to block you.
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