People wrongly assume that a gambling addiction is not as big a problem as a drug or alcohol addiction simply because it does not involve a substance. They would be wrong. Gambling can ruin lives, especially now that it is so readily available and people can gamble in bed, if they so choose. The repetitive nature of spinning roulette wheels or slots can be all-consuming for those affected.
Where to get help if you are affected by gambling
Where To Get Help
In the UK if you have a problem with gambling there is help available. The gambling commission has put together help and guidelines.
The National Gambling Helpline is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through GamCare. It is there to support those suffering from gambling problems or those concerned about the affect gambling is having on people close to them. You can call them free on 0808 8020 133, or visit gamcare.org.uk.
Signs Of Problem Gambling
Here are some of the signs that you have a problem with gambling:
- finding it hard to stop or manage your gambling
- having arguments with family or friends about gambling and money
- losing interest in other activities
- always thinking or talking about gambling
- lying about your gambling
- gambling to get out of financial trouble
- gambling until all of your money is gone
- borrowing money, not paying bills, and selling things to pay for gambling
- needing to gamble for a longer with larger amounts
- neglecting work, family, personal needs, school, or household responsibilities because of gambling
- feeling worried, guilty, anxious, depressed or irritable.
What You Can Do
You can begin by putting limits on your accounts of the amount of money you can gamble. You can cut up your credit cards and you can find local GA Gambling Anonymous help groups that offer a 12 step programme like those who have alcohol and drug problems that are out of control.
You can begin to try to limit the time spend gambling and you may be able to speak openly an honestly to your friends and family about the problem you have.
Aside from calling the helpline if you feel your gambling is out of control, you can also see your GP.
Seeing A Doctor
While many do not consider gambling to be a medical matter, it is. If it causes you to be anxious, worried, stressed, and depressed, then your mental health is suffering. A supportive GP can help by recognising your issue and will likely have resources locally that they can refer you to.
Cognitive behavioural therapy can help as well as one to one and group counselling that your doctor will have access to.
If you are depressed, your doctor can also prescribe anti depressants to ease the symptoms.
If your gambling is particularly bad and you feel you simply cannot stop while your fingers can touch a mobile phone there are residential treatment options that may be available.
Treatment options include the Gordon Moody treatment programme. They offer 12 week residential treatment programmes for both men and women.