A gambling addiction can cause serious harm to a person’s health, well-being, and relationships, and the consequences of the addiction can cause serious financial problems.
Like drinking alcohol, gambling can be part of a social activity and has limits between someone who enjoys it and someone who suffers from an addiction. As different types of gambling exist, so do different types of gambling addictions. An addiction may not restrict itself to slot machines and casinos. Purchasing lottery tickets and making bets can even become addictive habits, so it’s not always obvious when a person suffers from a gambling addiction. With more online gambling apps and games available at our fingertips, it’s now easier than ever to bet money without realising how much we are spending.
A gambling addiction can create irrational thoughts in addicts’ minds, and can even mean they view it as a legitimate way to earn money. They may have already gotten themselves into a difficult financial situation through gambling, and feel that the only way for them to win the money back is through gambling more. Another reason a person may become an addict is because of the high related to taking risks and the excitement that it might pay off. Whatever the cause for addiction, the majority of gamblers rarely come close to winning back the money they lost.
Those with a betting addiction may experience a sense of hopelessness after losing bets or large amounts of money, which can then lead to anxiety, depression, and in severe cases, suicidal thoughts. These psychological symptoms can often then lead to physical symptoms. It is common to associate anxiety and depression with lack of sleep, which may result in weight loss or gain, a change in skin colour, and dark circles around the eyes.
How to help someone with a gambling addiction
Solving money difficulties caused by a gambling addiction isn’t a cure. To help people with a gambling addiction, they must first realise that there is an issue. They do not need to engage in gambling every day for it to be an issue, nor does it have to bankrupt them for it to be a problem.
There is no medication to treat or cure a gambling disorder; still, addicts can seek medical treatment to help the side effects of a gambling addiction, such as the symptoms of anxiety or depression. Talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), have proven to be effective methods of helping gambling addicts deal with their addiction.
Based on the concept that there is an interconnection between thoughts, feelings, and actions, CBT will help the addict to recognise irrational thoughts or faulty feelings. It can help to deal with these problems in a rational manner by breaking them down. This will help addicts deal with their cravings and urges before they relapse, even after finishing rehabilitation. This means that addicts will need to realise they have a problem and believe they need guidance for the therapy to be successful. For the success of the therapy to remain, and for an addict to continue being gamble-free, they may need to adopt lifestyle changes, such as changing friends, daily activities, and even how they deal with their finances.
For more information on the treatments services offered by Charterhouse Clinic for gambling addiction, please visit our gambling addiction treatment page.