Many people enjoy a flutter from time to time. It is not uncommon to bet on a sporting event, such as a big football game, boxing match or a horse race like the Grand National. It may only be a bit of harmless fun now and again, just like any recreational pursuit which could be habit-forming but, if engaged in moderation, there is nothing to worry about.
However, what happens when your gambling changes from being an occasional bet for fun to becoming an addiction? You feel a compulsion to keep gambling, despite the depleting bank balance or negative consequences it may be having on your life. The adverts say when the fun stops, stop, but unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to continue gambling when caught in the grip of dependency.
It is estimated one out of a hundred of the UK population, adding to almost 669000 people, have a gambling addiction. Reportedly, in the 12 months before March last year, gamblers in Britain lost almost fourteen and a half billion pounds, while there was over a 50% increase in hospital admissions linked to gambling in England since 2014.
This may be connected to the fact gamblers have a greater than 500% more chance of suffering psychological problems due to the stress of betting or losing. It can have a powerful, detrimental effect on a person’ mental health.
A gambling addiction can have a negative impact on not only the addict’s life, but those around them. It can be the cause of family arguments, and tear couples apart, as losses harm the household’s finances. It can also affect a gambler’s professional life, where they may have lost their wage packet, and their dependency may ultimately cost them their job.
If you have a gambling problem, you could find yourself in an ever-spiralling cycle of debt, where you may take out a loan to cover your losses. It may even cost you your freedom, as many are forced to turn to crime to pay off your debts.
You may feel as if you are trapped in a nightmare from which there is no way out. However, you can save yourself from gambling addiction by entering rehab and getting the treatment you need.
It has been shown gambling addiction can be treated just like any other dependency, be it drug, alcohol or solvent abuse. Many believe the best results can be achieved through counselling, be it as a group or individually, as well as employing contemporary techniques such as Cognitive behavioural therapy.
During your stay at a residential rehab centre, you can sit down with a psychiatric specialist, to discuss the current or underlying difficulties you may be facing, which could lead you to gamble.
Many see it as an escape from their everyday lives, or a way to keep their mind off their worries. Others get hooked on the excitement or are waiting for that one big win which will make all their dreams come true. But, in order to get that win, they must keep playing. This is the slippery slope which can result in addiction, but how do you break away from it?
There are various support groups like Gamblers Anonymous which, through its lauded 12-step programme, allows you to meet with fellow addicts, where you can share your experiences, to try and help each other stop gambling.
There has been a great deal of discussion and media attention on how to deal with gambling addiction in the UK. Some have called for measures to prohibit internet betting with credit cards or stopping gambling advertising at sporting events and during televised matches.
However, for many, an important step forward is making gambling addiction treatment more readily accessible to the public.
But there are still options open to you, and if you are ready to call time on gambling for good, you should consider signing up for rehab. There is a space for you at your local residential centre, where, through counselling and support, the expert medical staff can show you how to stop gambling and get your life back on track.