The allure of big wins and the adrenaline rush of high stake bets can prove to be an irresistible temptation for many. Gambling addiction, however, is a destructive disorder that can ruin your financial stability, relationships and overall wellbeing. The possibility of losing it all may be looming overhead, but there is a way out. Oasis Runcorn can help you to recover from gambling addiction and find happiness again.
How do I know if I’m addicted to gambling?
As with any other addiction, the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. In many cases, however, this is easier said than done. Your gambling addiction will lie to you, telling you that everything is under control – you’ll only place one more bet, and as soon as you win your money back, you’ll stop… right? The truth is, if you were able to stop on your own, you would have done so already .
Some important questions to ask yourself include:
- Do you find it difficult to control or stop gambling once you start?
- Have you ever lied to friends, family or loved ones about your gambling activities or the amount of money you have spent?
- Are you preoccupied with gambling, constantly thinking about past gambling experiences or planning the next opportunity to gamble?
- Do you feel restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling?
- Have you ever resorted to gambling as a means to escape from stress, anxiety or feelings of depression?
- Do you often chase losses by continuing to gamble in hopes of recovering what you’ve lost?
- Have you borrowed money, sold possessions or engaged in other questionable financial activities to fund your gambling habits?
- Do you experience feelings of guilt, shame or remorse after gambling?
If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, it is possible that you have a gambling addiction. Left untreated, this could have severe consequences.
What causes gambling addiction?
Just like any other addiction, the act of gambling results in the release of dopamine – a neurotransmitter linked with pleasure. This hit of dopamine is what causes the feeling of excitement when you place a bet. As your gambling habit develops, your brain starts to become accustomed to this rush of dopamine and you may need to engage in more risky or high-stake bets in order to feel the same level of excitement.
There are several factors that can increase your chances of developing a gambling addiction, and these include:
- Mental health issues: Gambling may temporarily alleviate mental health symptoms, making you more vulnerable to gambling addiction.
- High stress levels: If you struggle to cope with stress, you may gamble as a way to escape.
- Easy access to gambling: Having gambling apps on your phone or a betting shop nearby can tempt you into placing more and more bets.
- Gambling from an early age: If you were exposed to gambling from a young age, you are more likely to develop a gambling addiction.
- Genetic predisposition: Genetics also play a role in our susceptibility to gambling addiction.
- Personality characteristics: If you are a naturally impulsive or competitive person, you are more likely to develop a gambling addiction.
The highly stimulating nature of gambling, with occasional wins and the excitement of near-misses, reinforces the behaviour, making it incredibly difficult to quit once an addiction takes hold.
Gambling addiction: what is the cost?
The insidious grip of gambling addiction reaches far beyond the confines of the casino floor or online betting platform. It can infiltrate every aspect of your life, leaving a trail of devastating consequences in its wake.
One of the most apparent and immediate impacts of gambling addiction is the toll it takes on your finances. What may start out as occasional gambling can quickly escalate into excessive betting, leading to substantial financial losses. Mounting debts, depleted savings and even bankruptcy become harsh realities for many individuals struggling with gambling addiction. The constant pursuit of an elusive win can spiral out of control, pushing you to borrow money, sell possessions or even steal in order to fund your compulsion.
Gambling addiction does not only affect the individual, but their family members too. In fact, a recent study found that 7% of the population has been negatively affected by someone else’s gambling. As your gambling addiction takes over, you may become more secretive in order to hide your gambling activities. It is possible you will lie to your loved ones or try to manipulate them into believing nothing is wrong. This can lead to trust issues, arguments and fractured relationships.
The constant highs and lows, the stress of financial strain and the internal conflict between the desire to stop and the compulsion to continue can lead to profound emotional distress. Anxiety, depression and feelings of hopelessness are common among individuals grappling with gambling addiction. The guilt associated with your gambling and the impact on loved ones can further contribute to deteriorating mental health.
Can I overcome gambling addiction?
Oasis Runcorn offers a safe space where you can rebuild your life and overcome your gambling addiction. Through our comprehensive rehab programme, you will gain a deeper understanding of the reasons for your addiction and learn to replace negative behaviour patterns with healthier ones.
A physical detox is not required during gambling addiction treatment, however, you will focus on psychological healing through therapy. Oasis Runcorn offers various different therapy modalities, including:
- Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT): Works on accepting and managing difficult emotions towards gambling in healthy ways.
- Group therapy: Fosters a sense of community and support with others in gambling addiction treatment.
- Family therapy: Helps to repair damage in relationships and promotes healthy communication.
- Motivational interviewing: Keeps you focused on your goals and stay motivated to achieve them.
- Relapse prevention: Equips you with a relapse prevention plan so you can avoid slipping back into old habits.
Recovering from gambling addiction takes time and effort, but if you are willing to put in the hard work, you will be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment, a more fulfilling life and freedom from the compulsions that are currently holding you back.
Am I enabling a loved one’s gambling addiction?
If a loved one is struggling with a gambling addiction, you likely want to do everything in your power to help them. However, it is important to recognise any enabling behaviour that could hinder their recovery process.
Some signs that you could be enabling your loved one include:
- Providing financial support or loans
- Ignoring or denying that there is a problem
- Downplaying the severity of the gambling addiction
- Making excuses for their gambling behaviour
- Taking on their responsibilities, such as paying their bills
- Sacrificing your own needs and not sticking to boundaries
If you identify with any of these signs, it is important to reassess your approach. This does not mean that you cannot support your loved one in their gambling addiction recovery, but for the most effective solution you should allow them to face the reality of their actions.
A life without gambling
It is possible to break free from the destruction of gambling addiction and rebuild your life. A life without gambling addiction offers the potential for financial stability, improved mental health, restored relationships and a renewed sense of self. You will be able to discover new passions and pursue meaningful goals without the dark cloud of gambling addiction hanging over your head.
Recovery from gambling addiction is a challenging process, but with determination and the right support, it is achievable. If you would like to start your journey with Oasis Runcorn, call our admissions team today.
Frequently asked questions
- Avoid triggers and high-risk situations
- Maintain a strong support system
- Attend aftercare
- Prioritise self-care