Are you worried that you or someone close to you is addicted to gambling? Help is at hand. Here we tell you a little about gambling addiction, what to look out for and how we can get you or a loved one the best possible treatment.

What is a gambling addiction?

Gambling addiction, or compulsive gambling, is what we call an impulse-control disorder. In today’s age of online gambling communities, gambling addiction is becoming increasingly prevalent. It’s never been so easy to partake in a game of poker, roulette or blackjack. Or to bet on sports.  Scratchcard gambling is also becoming a significant problem. Compulsive gamblers can’t control the urge to gamble, no matter what the consequences. Gambling becomes a problem and an addiction when it takes over a person’s life, relationships and finances.  If you or someone you know is gambling in secret, can’t walk away from a gambling situation or will gamble even when there are no finances available, then there’s a gambling problem.

Signs, symptoms and risks of gambling addiction

Gambling is a hidden illness as there are no obvious physical effects and gamblers can be incredibly secretive. The main effect of compulsive gambling is on the addict’s finances.  They continue to play, however broke or flush they are. And there’s always a need to try to make up any losses incurred so gambling can be a vicious cycle. Gambling addicts become preoccupied with gambling and will put it in front of relationships and responsibilities. They may stay out all night at a casino or stay up all night on their computer. They may start stealing to pay for their addiction. Gambling can have a devastating effect on families. In the worst case scenario, a compulsive gambler may consider – or commit – suicide as a result of gambling-induced debts and the shame they bring.

Treating gambling addiction

Like with most addictions, the first step to getting treatment is admitting that there’s a gambling problem.  There are a great many recovery programs and therapies available. Quitting gambling is relatively easy; staying away from gambling is harder and often requires the support of ongoing group therapy. At Addiction Helper, we can help you look at all the options available and provide all the support that you and your family will need.

What is a Behavioural Addiction?

A behavioural addiction is where there is an addiction present but no substances are involved. Behavioural addictions are increasingly being referred to as Process addictions and Impulse Control Disorder.

A behavioural addiction is centred on a compulsion to engage in a specific action or behaviour regardless of the consequences to the sufferer and to others. The compulsion is so overpowering that the sufferer engages, even when it means there is a personal cost, whether it be physical, mental or financial.

A behavioural addiction can be just as destructive as a substance related addiction. It is an illness that needs professional treatment to overcome.

Examples of Behavioural Addictions

There are some common examples of behavioural addictions that are more well-known than others. Examples such as Gambling, Gaming, Internet, Spending, Shopping, Sex, Porn, Work. There are many more. Some less well known behavioural addictions are Collecting, Hoarding, Compulsive lying, Facebook, Phone checking, Virtual relationships. The list is by no means definitive or exhaustive and many individuals vulnerable to addiction can have multiple behavioural and substance misuse issues, this is often known as Cross Addiction.

Can a Behavioral Addiction be Treated in a Rehab Clinic?

The answer to this is simply “yes”. Just because there is no substance involved, does not mean that your addiction cannot be treated as if it were a substance. The recovery process begins with abstinence, then rehabilitation, aftercare care and maintenance. Every individual who enters a rehab facility is required to stop the substance or behaviour that they are addicted to. The staff at the rehab clinic will fully support you in this. The process of rehabilitation consists of therapeutic treatment. Just like an individual with a substance addiction, a sufferer with a behavioural addiction needs to explore and deal with the issues that are underpinning the addiction. The action or behaviour is simply a manifestation of something much deeper.

How else can a Behavioural Addiction be Treated?

Behavioural addictions can be successfully treated with therapy and counselling in the community. However for a more chronic condition, inpatient in a rehab to achieve abstinence first, is preferred. There are support groups that are also useful in addressing and supporting those with behavioural addictions.

How can Addiction Helper Help with my Behavioural Addiction?

Addiction Helper can assess your condition and recommend a suitable course of treatment. We can provide you with the rehab clinic that is right for you to undergo your treatment at and arrange for appropriate aftercare. Where there is no funding available for treatment, we can advise you what is available on the NHS and sign post you accordingly

For more information on how to treat a behavioural addiction or for a free over the telephone assessment with one of our Addiction Treatment Counsellors, please call or helpline anytime.