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Gambling addiction

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Gambling: What to do if you or your partner is addicted

If you are a gambler or you live with someone who has a gambling addiction it can cause serious issues within a relationship. These can range from financial problems associated with the money they spend feeding their addiction, to emotional difficulties caused by stress and depression. If you think that you or your partner are addicted, what can you do and what sources of help are available?

When is gambling an addiction?

Some people will just have a gambling habit that doesn’t cause any issues, whereas others might be problem gamblers or compulsive addicts. The figures for problem gamblers in this country could be as high as 450,000. It’s now even easier for people to take up the habit and quickly become addicted, especially with the popularity of online sites.

An addictive gambler is one who has no way of controlling their impulse to gamble. They’re aware of the impact they are having on their family, but are simply unable to stop. In this situation, gambling consumes their whole life, regardless of whether they’re winning or losing, and it’s all that they can think about. Problem gamblers are not as out of control as compulsive gamblers, but it still has an impact on their life. Their problem could become worse and turn into an addiction if no one is able to help.

With a gambling addict they don’t have to gamble everyday to have a serious problem. Some of the warning signs of an addiction include being secretive and lying about where they’ve been or what they’ve spent their money on. They might be away from home a lot without a reasonable explanation or say they’ll stop gambling but never do. An addict can’t just walk away from the problem, even if they’ve built up considerable debts.

How to help yourself?

gambling addictionIf you’re starting to worry that you have an addiction yourself, it’s important to get some help as soon as possible. The first step is admitting to yourself and others that this has become a problem. You should go to someone who you feel comfortable talking to about your issues, whether that’s a friend, family member or a specialist service. While you’re receiving help, try and avoid environments that would usually draw you into gambling.

Look at ways of controlling your money, so that it stops you using it for gambling. If you think you’ll still be tempted, ask for help to restrict the amount of money you have access to. You need to remember to take small steps and that each new day is one more step towards being free from gambling.

How to help your partner?

If you suspect that your partner has a gambling problem, you need to sit them down and talk about it properly. This should be a constructive discussion and not one where you simply highlight their faults without any suggestions for how they can help themselves. You should develop a realistic approach to dealing with the issue once and for all. This can’t be a quick fix that just masks the problem in the short term.

There are organisations that can help both you and your partner and it’s important that the two of you get the right levels of support. It can be just as emotionally draining for the partner of an addict, as it is for the gambler themselves. Don’t give them any temptations and take control of the family finances.

Sources of help

When you or someone close to you is trying to beat an addiction, professional support and advice is crucial for their success. There are different organisations that can provide help for gamblers and their families.

National Problem Gambling Clinic

This clinic offers a range of treatments for gamblers based on their individual situation. They can treat any addict who is over 16 and from England or Wales. Gamblers can refer themselves to the service and there is no need to see your GP.
GamCare

This organisation provides a telephone service, online support, individual counselling and a peer support forum. All their services are free and accessible either face to face or online.
Gamblers Anonymous

This runs on the same principles as Alcoholics Anonymous. There is a live online chat option, as well as a number of local meetings across the country.
GamAnon

This works alongside Gamblers Anonymous and offers meetings for partners and other family meetings. These often take place at the same time as Gamblers Anonymous meetings, but in a separate area.

 

 

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One Response to “Gambling addiction”

  1. Kay Right

    It’s amazing how much damage gambling can do to a family. It must be so difficult to tackle when it’s your partner and especially when they are in denial.
    Gambling is literally everywhere these days

    Reply

About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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