The promise of free bets and big wins on television advertisements has lured many people into believing that they are in with the chance of riches.
Gambling websites have become big business in recent years and, as such, there has been a marked increase in the number of individuals going on to develop gambling addictions.
It is no longer the case that gambling has to be carried out in a casino or betting shop. The advent of the internet and the online gambling site means that gamblers can partake in their favourite activity at any time of the day or night and from the comfort of their own homes if they so wish. And although no chemical substances are involved, a gambling addiction can be just as destructive as a drug or alcohol addiction. It has the ability to destroy lives and tear families apart. If you have been affected by this, you may be wondering how to cure a gambling addiction. The good news is that it is an illness that can be treated.
We believe this pioneering and contemporary therapy, delivered within the first two weeks of treatment intervenes on multi-addictions and masking addictions, anger, family violence and assists in relapse prevention. We help patients to look at their addictions and correlate the trauma they’ve had in their life to their ‘acting out’. We foster a desire to take responsibility, and be accountable for adult behavior’s instead of blaming and victimhood.
When Does a Gambling Addiction Begin?
For most, gambling means putting an occasional bet on the horses or football, or even playing a line or two every week on the lottery. Some people like to go to bingo each week, which is the extent of their gambling habits.
However, for others, gambling becomes something they become obsessed with. They become consumed by the thrill and anticipation of the bet, and every waking minute is spent either gambling or thinking about it. They will favour gambling above everything else in their lives.
It is important to realise that a gambling addiction is not something that happens overnight. For some, it can happen quite quickly but for others it will take a long time before a gambling habit gets out of control.
Most of those who go on to develop a gambling habit will find that it is a source of entertainment in the early days. They get pleasure from gambling but are able to exert a measure of control over it. Nevertheless, as time goes by, they may start to think about it more and more until it begins to interfere with their everyday life.
The Negative Impact of a Gambling Addiction
Addiction is classed as any pattern of behaviour that has a negative impact on the life of the affected individual. A gambling addiction may not have any physical side effects as a drug or alcohol addiction would, but it can be devastating nevertheless.
In fact, a gambling addiction may be one of the most destructive in terms of the negative impact it can have on the life of those affected as well as the lives of those closest to them. One of the biggest problems with a gambling addiction is the fact that it can be hidden for so long.
With the ability to gamble in private from any mobile device capable of accessing the internet, it is possible to gamble in the presence of others without these individuals being any wiser. Many people admit to gambling on their smartphones while sitting in the room with their partner, who is completely unaware of what they are doing.
As a gambling addiction requires constant access to funds, it is no surprise to learn that many addicts find themselves in dire financial straits when addiction takes hold. Countless gambling addicts will chase their losses and will gamble until they have absolutely nothing left. They are convinced that their ‘big’ win is right around the corner. Some will then borrow from loved ones or use money kept aside to pay essential bills such as rent or electricity. This can leave many families on the brink of homelessness.
There is also a strong link between gambling addiction and criminal activity. Many addicts will convince themselves that they will be able to take money either through theft or fraud and put it back before anyone notices. These individuals believe that they could win what they need and then all their problems will be solved; this is rarely the case. There have been numerous stories in recent years of gambling addicts finding themselves behind bars after allowing their habit to spiral out of control and finding themselves taking desperate measures to recoup losses.
The financial situation that many gambling addicts find themselves in often leads to the breakdown of marriages. Partners who discover that their life savings have been dwindled away by an addicted partner feel hurt and betrayed, and many are unable to forgive or forget. As a result, entire families can be ripped apart by one member’s addiction.
Do You Have a Gambling Problem?
Most people find it difficult to accept that their habits have reached the stage where they can be classed as an addiction. As with any other type of addiction, gambling addicts are usually in denial about their problem. It is typically only when things get to a critical stage that the person will be finally ready to admit to having a problem.
In many instances, it is family members or friends who first raise their concerns about an individual’s addiction. If this is the case for you, we urge you to think about your gambling habit and be honest about whether this is having a negative impact on your life or the lives of those around you. Ask yourself the following questions:
Are you spending more money on gambling than you can afford to lose?
Do you spend most of your free time gambling or thinking about gambling?
Are you neglecting responsibilities in your life in favour of gambling?
Is your gambling interfering with your work?
Have you tried to stop or cut back on your gambling but been unable to?
Do you hide your gambling from your family members and friends?
Do you feel guilty when you gamble?
Have you been borrowing from friends or getting loans to pay for your gambling debts?
If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, you may have a problem that requires help. It is important to address this issue as soon as possible as a gambling addiction will not go away by itself. Even if you do not yet have an addiction, you may be heading that way. Reaching out for help now could prevent further heartache for yourself and your family going forward.
Can a Gambling Addiction Be Cured?
As with any other type of addiction, there is no cure for a gambling addiction, although it can be treated. Addiction is an illness of the brain, and over time, certain behaviours become harder to change. For most of those suffering from a gambling addiction, it is necessary to get professional help. Avoiding gambling is a good start, but there is much more to overcoming an addiction than simply avoiding betting shops or casinos.
Today, gambling opportunities present themselves at every turn, so it is vital that those with an addiction learn various coping strategies to help them steer clear. With professional help from counsellors and therapists, gambling addicts can identify the cause of their addictive behaviour and be taught ways to avoid a return to gambling in the future.
Although a programme of detoxification is not required for those with a gambling addiction, it may be necessary to complete a rehabilitation programme. This can take place in an outpatient or inpatient setting.
In an inpatient clinic, you will stay for several weeks and receive an intensive and concentrated schedule of treatment designed to give you a head start on the road to recovery. Outpatient programmes are less intensive but no less effective. This type of programme differs in that treatment takes place on a day care setting and the patient returns home afterwards. Outpatient programmes tend to run for longer, with some lasting many months and others up to a year or more.
The choice of programme will depend on your personal needs and the severity of the illness. For more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at Sanctuary Lodge today.