Although a gambling addiction can have a severe impact on the individual involved, it can also take a severe toll on those around them.
It is estimated that for every person who has what is classed as a ‘gambling problem’, another seven people are negatively affected as a result. 3.6 million people reported that they have been negatively affected by someone else’s gambling problem in the UK alone.
Like many addictive behaviours, gambling can start out as just a bit of fun. Unfortunately for many, this fun can soon turn into a problem, with potentially extremely serious ramifications. No matter who you are, anyone can become addicted to gambling and if you are concerned you may be beginning to develop a problem with gambling, or have already developed an issue, get in touch with us today to find out exactly how we can help you, and you can begin to overcome your gambling addiction.
When it comes to identifying a problem or addiction, it can be difficult to spot as gambling has no obvious physical signs or symptoms like drug or alcohol addiction do. This is why it is sometimes referred to as the ‘secret’ or ‘hidden’ addiction.
Gambling has also been made easier now more than ever before, with websites and apps being accessible to anyone with a smartphone and internet connection, it is possible for someone to gamble large amounts of money without even leaving their couch, making the behaviour seem more normal.
Whilst there are some tell-tale signs of a gambling addiction, it is often a financial crisis that is the first giveaway. In fact, many partners, friends and family members don’t even realise their loved one had/has a gambling problem until they notice a serious financial consequence such as court summons or repossession of their home/other belongings for non-payment of debt.
A gambling addiction can put enormous amounts of pressure on any relationship and can cause emotional, physical and financial stress for loved ones. Secretive behaviour, such as going behind a partner’s back to gamble or stealing money from loved ones, can leave them feeling betrayed and create serious trust issues, potentially leading to the complete breakdown of relationships.
Addictions can make people do things that are usually out of character such as becoming angry when discussing money or going to extreme lengths to obtain more money to place more bets. This behaviour can cause the gambler to feel guilty and shameful, which often fuels the desire to gamble as a means of escape from reality.
Children can also be affected by any stress or conflict and commonly develop the following as consequences of a loved one’s gambling addiction:
- Loss of trust due to lies, secrets and broken promises
- Depression: children sometimes feel powerless and blame themselves
- Low self-esteem
- Social withdrawal
- Ashamed, angry and hurt
Although yourself, or the individual with the gambling addiction may feel powerless and ashamed, the addiction and resulting problems can be eased by speaking to experts, such as ourselves at Acquiesce. Telling loved ones the truth seems daunting, but staying in denial and keeping secrets will only keep the gambling going. Don’t go it alone.
Remember, many others have been in your shoes and have been able to break the habit and rebuild their lives, so you can too, no matter how much debt you’re in or how badly your relationships have been affected.
Signs of a Gambling Addiction
Contrary to the popular misconception, despite the financial consequences of gambling, it is in fact an emotional addiction rather than a financial one. As the ability to control the desire to gamble reduces over time, the urge to gamble increases.
Some signs that you or someone you know may be suffering from a gambling addiction are:
- Hiding gambling from others
- Lying or being secretive
- Spending money you cannot afford
- Loved ones are concerned
- Irritability or anger when trying to stop
- Previous unsuccessful attempts to stop
- Borrowing or stealing money belonging to others for gambling
Unfortunately, not only can a gambling addiction take its toll financially, but it can also cause a great strain on your mental health, relationships and work. Some of these strains can include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Sleep deprivation
- Noticeable weight gain or loss
- Acne or pale skin
- Relationships with loved ones suffer due to prioritisation of gambling over important events
- Missing work to gamble
How to Get Help with a Gambling Addiction
At Acquiesce, we understand that once you have recognised a problem, it can be hard to admit the need for help. It is common for people to feel ashamed or guilty for the strain they have put on their families, which is why we offer a totally anonymous and judgement free service to help you recover, we approach the addiction with psychological intervention alongside friendly and professional support. We also realise that gambling is often a symptom of what the individual is using as a solution to the root issue they may be experiencing.
Individuals in the 12 step programmes attend meetings where they are able to identify and connect with others who have or are experiencing the same issues. We also use cognitive behavioural therapy approaches in order to identify the trigger of the addiction and teach you how to confront it, maintaining your recovery in an urban environment so a long term success is more likely.
Our range of programmes were designed to suit your lifestyle and responsibilities. We know that many people in recovery still have family commitments and responsibilities that mean they cannot be in full residential rehabilitation.
To find out more about gambling rehabilitation or to book a callback, please click here.