Gambling is one of those activities that provide a lot of thrilling excitement with very little risk of negative consequences – other than losing the amount of money being wagered. And in fact, the feelings of pleasure gambling induces makes it very easy for individuals to lose self-control when emotions are running high. This is normal. However, gambling does have a dark side that can lead to addiction.
The process of gambling can create a ‘natural high’ due to chemical receptors known as dopamine being released in the brain. Regular gamblers can become addicted to this high just as alcohol and drug users can become addicted to their substances.
The NHS estimates there may be as many as 450,000 problem gamblers in Britain. Some are right here in Essex. However, there is hope. If you think you might have a gambling problem, we urge you to call our addiction recovery helpline today. Our only mission is to make sure you get the treatment you need.
Identifying Gambling Addiction
Like any addiction, the first step in conquering compulsive gambling is identifying that the problem exists. We hope your visit to our website means you are giving serious consideration to whether you have a problem or not. If you do, you are likely to recognise some of the following signs:
you’re secretive about your gambling practices
once you begin gambling you have a hard time walking away
you gamble even on days when you really don’t have the money
your family and friends have approached you about your gambling practices.
Unfortunately, problem gamblers often do not think they have a problem as long as they are not gambling every day of the week. However, that assumption is terribly incorrect. Unlike chemical addictions, a gambling addiction does not need to be addressed every day to still be considered addiction.
Any type of gambling that is compulsive, despite the known negative consequences, is clinically considered addiction. If you recognise any of the above signs in your own life, the likelihood that you have a problem is fairly high. Please consider speaking with a professional in order to get a proper diagnosis. You can call our addiction recovery helpline if you want to talk right away.
How Gambling Addiction Develops
We have never met a problem gambler who claimed to begin gambling with the stated goal of becoming an addict. It just does not work that way. Every addiction starts out with a seemingly innocent behaviour that snowballs into addiction over a length of time. Gambling addiction is no different.
It may start in the life of a young person after just one visit to an Internet gambling site. It may start in the early years of adulthood after a day at the races. It might even start as innocent participation in an office sports betting pool. In either case, one bet leads to another, then another, and then another until the individual can no longer control him or herself.
Interestingly enough, the NHS says that a fair number of gambling addicts are also alcohol abusers. It may be that the stress of problem gambling leads to excessive drinking in many of these people. Whether that is true or not, treatments for these types of individuals often include alcohol recovery as well.
Addictive Gambling Is Harmful
If you have had any experience with addictive gambling, you know how harmful it can be. It is not an innocuous activity that only affects the individual suffering from it, it is something that destroys entire families. Here is a short list of some of the more harmful effects of compulsive gambling:
Financial – It should be obvious that addictive gambling nearly always leads to financial ruin. The fact is that gambling systems are set up to favour the house, protecting them from any significant loss. It is nearly impossible for the compulsive gambler to continually come out ahead.
Crime – Gambling addicts are among the most likely of all addicts to wind up in prison due to criminal activity. They commit all sorts of crimes in order to have the money to fuel their addiction. Crime among gambling addicts is the one component very few are willing to talk about.
Mental Health – The NHS explains that addictive gambling is also dangerous to mental health, noting the fact that rates of clinical depression and suicide among compulsive gamblers are double that of the general population. Addictive gambling is very stressful, both emotionally and mentally.
Family Life – Compulsive gambling is every bit as destructive to family life as substance addictions. It destroys finances, marriage relationships, relationships with kids and relationships with extended family.
A gambling addiction may very well cost you your family, your home, your health and your job. However, it doesn’t have to. You can seek professional treatment to overcome your addiction. Get started picking up the phone and calling our addiction recovery helpline.
Gambling Addiction Treatment
Treatment for a gambling addiction is available through the NHS, gambling support groups and private rehab clinics. If you are in England, you can refer yourself to the National Problem Gambling Clinic located in London. The clinic is the only NHS facility specialising in gambling treatment. Be advised that you may have to wait to get in.
As an invaluable referral organisation serving clients in Essex and England, we recommend treatment through a private rehab clinic whenever possible. We believe private treatment is your best option due to the fact that these clinics specialise in addictive behaviour. They are the best at what they do because addiction recovery is all they do.
If you are concerned you may have an addiction to gambling, we would like the opportunity to assist you if we can. When you call our addiction helpline, we will walk you through all of the treatment options available in Essex and England. We will even help you make the arrangements if you so desire. The important thing is that you decide to begin the process of getting well.
NHS – http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/addiction/Pages/gamblingaddiction.aspx