Most people have at some point bought a raffle or lottery ticket, placed a bet on a horse at the Grand National or had a go at a slot machine. You might be one of the regular weekly lottery buyers or even part of a syndicate.
A small win can pepper the taste buds for further bets that don’t always pay up. You may have won small amounts or you might dream about what you’d do if you hit the jackpot – I know I have and so has everyone who has ever bought a ticket. For most, this level of gambling is low. It’s the equivalent of someone drinking a pint or two of beer, or a couple of glasses of wine, it doesn’t make them an alcoholic.
The problem arises when the habit becomes compulsive and turns to addiction. Financial hardship kicks in and you see gambling as a way out of your situation. You spend the little you have on fruit machines, a game of poker, a bet on the horses or a lottery ticket, in an attempt to win big. And now with online games easier to access, gambling has reached a crisis point.
- How much do you spend each day or week on gambling?
- Have you borrowed money so you could gamble?
I once worked with a man who was spending on average £100 per casino visit. Not such a large sum for a night out celebrating a special occasion. Unfortunately, his one time visit turned into monthly trips to the casino, then weekly visits and then into five times a week. He was spending £26,000 per year, out of his taxed income, on gambling. He lost his house, had to move in with his parents and was borrowing money in the hope he would win it all back one day.
The illusion of a substantial win, coupled with the losses, keeps you trapped in a cycle you struggle to break. Gambling can impact not only your bank balance but also your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. It can lead to serious debt, loss of employment and/or a breakdown in your relationships with family and loved ones.
Causes of Gambling Addiction
- Financial difficulties
- The illusion of a large win that will set you up for life
- Social status related to being a successful gambler
- Lifestyle of a casino player
Signs of Gambling Addiction
- Being secretive or in denial about gambling
- Gambling when you can’t afford
- Preocupation with winning
Emotional Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
- Anxiety, stress, depression or suicidal thoughts
- Irritable, angry or short tempered
- Sense of isolation or loneliness
- Feeling overwhelmed, guilty and helples
Physical Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
- Sleep deprivation
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Heavy drinking
Behavioural Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
- Anger, picking arguments or fights
- Withdrawl from social settings and/or family
Compulsive gambling is like other addictions – you go through denial, rejecting any suggestion you have a problem, whilst driving yourself further into debt, depression or possibly suicide.
Do you recognise any of these symptoms?
If you’ve been affected by what you’ve read and would like help, contact Carla Devereux to book an appointment.