Many people acknowledge that gambling addiction is a path to financial ruin. But there are other consequences as well. This includes depression, domestic violence, divorce and worst still suicide.
According to gamblingaddiction.org.uk around 350,000 people suffer from gambling addiction in the UK. And the number keeps rising with greater access to gambling platforms online and offline.
While the problem of alcohol or drug addiction is widely discussed, there is less understanding about gambling addiction.
After all, at one point or the other, most adults in the UK may have tried their hands on gambling in one way or the other. So what is the big deal, you say.
Well, that one act differs from the uncontrollable behaviour of the addict. He or she cannot stop, even when they are on a losing streak and racing towards financial and emotional ruin.
Gambling addiction while different from other forms of addiction such as drug, alcohol, chemical or food addiction is as destructive. It begins in many ways – the lottery ticket, casino slot machine, sports betting, online gaming and much more. Until finally it gets addictive.
So are you addicted to gambling? How do you recognise when someone close to you is now “entrapped” in a ‘never-ending game of chance?’
Here are some of the telltale signs and behaviour of a gambling addict.
They have an irresistible urge to gamble
They will sell off personal or family possessions to raise money for gambling
They will lie to family and people around them about their gambling habits
They will skip work or avoid commitments to create time for gambling
They will divert resources for other purposes to gambling
These are a few of the symptoms of gambling addiction. The person with the addiction cannot resist the urge to try their luck with the hope of winning. The stakes may be high, low or insignificant. But the addiction, manifest as an uncontrollable desire that must be fulfilled.
Impact of Gambling on Family
The impact of gambling transcends the gambler. It affects people around him or her especially the family.
An obvious effect is the financial impact of addictive gambling on the household. The individual with a gambling problem, will deep their hands into incomes, savings or joint family investments to fulfil the need to gamble. They may borrow and go into debt, dragging the family into financial distress.
Such situation can lead to tension in the home. With constant arguments which may result in emotional abuse or domestic violence. This atmosphere of conflict and tension affects the children as well.
There are several cases reflecting the deep consequences of gambling addiction. But gambling addiction it is not the end of the road. It can be treated through rehabilitation, therapy, lifestyle changes and medication.
The starting point is to recognise that you have a problem and you are ready to seek help.
Who are we?
Gamblers Anonymous is a support network for people with gambling problem or addiction in the UK. We offer information and counselling to members.
The most important criteria for membership are your desire to overcome a gambling addiction.
Call our helpline now, we are available 24/7.