Gambling is a growing problem in the UK and other areas of the EU. As gambling machines become as popular as candy machines in local shoppes, it is important to understand when a gambling habit becomes a gambling problem. Gambling addiction is a recognized mental illness for which treatment is available.
What is problem gambling and how is it developed?
Problem gambling is when gambling behavior disrupts life. You become busy with gambling, spending more time and money, or ignoring the serious consequences. Problem gambling is developed by family history, genetics, or if you have the impulsivity personality trait.
What are signs of problem gambling?
You know you have a gambling problem if you gamble in secret or lie about how much time is spend gambling since you feel no one will understand or to surprise everyone with your winnings. You will find it hard to walk away from your losses. You would be gambling until every last pound is spent and start betting money from bills, credit cards, and from your own children.
What are problem gambling statistics in the UK?
According to National Audit Office, £7 billion are gambled away every year. There are 600,000 problem gamblers in the UK. Only 5% seek help for addiction and only 1% are treated. One in two problem gamblers problem gamblers have sold their possessions to pay for gambling debts. 46% of problem gamblers have stolen to finance their habit. The average level of debt problem gamblers experience who are in treatment is £28,000.
What are the psychological problems caused by problem gambling?
60% of gambling addicts suffer depression and 13% have attempted suicide.
What are the most addictive types of gambling?
The internet, casinos, slot machines, unregulated gambling, and sports betting.
Can problem gambling be treated?
Yes. Inpatient treatment programs are for severe gambling addiction to those who are unable to avoid gambling without all around support. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on changing unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts. You will learn how to fight your urges and solve work, financial, and relationship issues that came from problem gambling. There is also marriage and credit counselling for specific issues related to problem gambling.
What are ways to deal with gambling cravings?
Always be around people you care about such as meeting a friend for coffee, calling a relative, or going to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting to avoid the urge to go to the casino or online gambling. Distract yourself with activities like going to the gym, relaxation exercises, or seeing a movie. Think about the worst case scenario of losing all of your money and how disappointed you and your family will be.
Castle Craig is one of the most established and respected addiction rehab centers in the UK. Castle Craig’s gambling addiction program helps patients understand their addiction, recognise what they want in place of gambling, build self-esteem, assertiveness and impulse control, and manage their debts and finances. For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | January 24, 2020