Canadian journalist Jeff Semple recently visited Castle Craig in order to do a radio story about gambling addiction.
His five-minute long report was broadcast on Deutsche Welle and radio stations across Europe and Africa.
Statistics say there is an estimated 400,000 gambling addicts in UK, and 3.5 million people are considered “at risk”.
“It completely took over my life”, says Diane, one of the Castle Craig patients interviewed by Jeff. “I had access to gambling 24/7 and that’s what I was doing.” She gambled away more than £1 million, lost her job and attempted suicide.
“I was in the hospital, nearly dying, and I was still lying in the bed tapping the button (of the smartphone). I got the Wifi code off the hospital so I could still be on it.”
“Gambling addiction is very under-estimated”, continues Diane. “I wish people would understand that nobody chooses to be an addict of any kind. It’s not a nice life.”
Chris, a 25 year old who attempted suicide after gambling £50,000, told the radio journalist how he started gambling: “I discovered online gambling and went downhill fairly rapidly from there. At some of the online casinos, which is where I started, you could put £500 in and they’d give you another £500 to play with. And that just makes it seem like such easy money, an easy way to generate income — and obviously the addiction takes over.”
Castle Craig therapist Christopher Burn commented on this issue: “The computer and the credit card are a killer combination. It opens gambling to a far wider public. It means your home suddenly becomes a casino…Gambling is becoming a national pastime with no real thought to the wider consequences.”
In an inspiring statement Diane reveals the key to her recovery: “Before, I never thought I had a choice. I never thought I had a way out. I now know I have a choice. And just for today, I choose not to do it.”
To find out more about the differences between recreational gambling and problem gambling, read our page on Gambling Addiction Support.