Most people start to gamble for a simple reason – they want to have fun. The beginning stages of gambling will include occasionally and responsibly, with set limits on time and money spent.
This controlled and responsible hobby can quickly get out of hand and negatively harm your mental health, relationships, finances and well-being.
Gambling addiction therapy is a resource that can help you identify the problem and recognise that your relationship with gambling has become unhealthy. From here, you might feel empowered to face your addiction and start to heal.
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What is Gambling Addiction?
Gambling addiction is also called compulsive gambling, pathological gambling or a gambling disorder. Gambling addiction creates an uncontrollable urge to gamble excessively, no matter how harmful the effects are on your life.
Addictive behaviours, such as gambling, stimulate the reward regions in the brain’s limbic system, and these centres control our mood, attentiveness and emotional reactions. This reward region in the brain may become addicted to gambling in the same way it can to drugs and alcohol.
To put it another way, you may start gambling for entertainment. However, you soon become wired to gamble and crave the addiction regardless of the consequences. As a result, you may begin to compulsively pursue gambling to satisfy this emotional need, even though you want to stop.
Signs of gambling addiction include these behaviours:
- You are preoccupied with gambling, whether casino games, sports betting, the lottery or poker.
- You chase your losses – try to regain lost money by gambling more, which frequently leads to more losses.
- We are borrowing money to gamble.
- I am losing track of time whilst gambling.
- You use gambling to escape problems or numb painful emotions like anxiety, depression, guilt or helplessness.
- You take money from the household budget to gamble.
- You drink and gamble.
- You feel agitated and irritated when you try to cut back on gambling.
- They are lying about the amount of money lost or spent.
- You try to stop gambling, but with no success.
- You risk losing work or school opportunities because of gambling.
- You risk relationships because of gambling.
Admitting a problem is the first step toward breaking free from a gambling addiction and getting your life back.
Compulsive gambling is a disorder just like any other addiction. As a result, overcoming and healing might be difficult. Many people who suffer from addiction, whether gambling or another form of compulsive behaviour, may benefit from engaging with a mental health expert.
Gambling Addiction Statistics
Most people struggle to stop their addiction without support. As a result, many find gambling addiction therapy a safe place to address their struggle and heal their wounds.
This process lies at the heart of psychological dependence, making it challenging to quit a gambling addiction. Also, for some people, gambling may become an addictive coping method. For instance, you may gamble to remove inhibitions, relieve tension and relieve anxiety and depression rather than enjoy gaming.
- According to research on gambling in the UK from 2016, nearly half of Britons gamble.
- According to surveys, individuals between the ages of 35 and 44 make up the majority of problem gamblers in Great Britain.
- The GambleAware charity YouGov survey showed that about 1.4 million adults in Great Britain have gambling problems.
- At the same time, only 5 per cent of compulsive gamblers seek gambling addiction treatment.
- According to the UK Gambling Commission, 31% of young people between the ages of 11 and 16 gambled with their own money in the year before taking the poll.
Can Gambling Affect My Mental Health?
Obsessive gambling can have a detrimental impact on our mental health. As the highs of gambling are seen so briefly, the consistent downfalls of gambling can leave you feeling anxious or depressed and as if there is no way out. Gambling itself can have a knock-on effect throughout one’s life, including debts, ability to pay rent, income, providing for a family and affording to live. This can go on to hurt the relationships with those closest to you.
This can, in turn, lead to severe loneliness, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
When it comes to mental health, anxiety and depression are not all linked to gambling, it has also been associated with fatigue, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness.
Alcohol and drug problems have been seen to be more evident in people with gambling problems, as well as severe worrying and panic, including phobias.
Gambling Addiction and The Role of Counselling
Addiction serves to fulfil an emotional need, not the need for a particular behaviour or substance. Gambling addiction can severely affect mental and physical health, relationships and employment.
As a result, mental health therapy is essential in addiction rehab and recovery, and it can assist you in overcoming cravings and increasing resilience. Hence, you feel empowered to deal with life’s obstacles without resorting to addictive habits.
While group therapy is thought to be better for helping addiction because it provides peer support in drug rehab, individual counselling can be beneficial if you have underlying conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD or another mental health condition that requires treatment.
EMDR therapy has also been an effective method in dealing with addictions. In EMDR therapy, therapists desensitise a traumatic memory by using eye movements whilst thinking of the memory and the feeling, images and beliefs associated with the situation. This causes the brain to change the way we feel about memory.
With addiction, EMDR will work by using eye movements to separate any pleasant memories associated with the addiction, removing the positive charge from that memory and desensitising the attraction to the addiction.
Gambling Addiction Therapy at Leone Centre
No matter how long you have struggled with gambling difficulties or addiction, recovery is possible. Leone Centre’s qualified counsellors recognise that addiction is frequently a symptom. Therefore, they can assist you in identifying and understanding the underlying causes of your addiction.
These may include childhood trauma, abuse, stress, relationship problems or mental health challenges. Our compassionate mental health specialists are familiar with working with 12-step models, and they can help you achieve abstinence while healing these basic wounds and acquiring healthy coping methods.