Gambling Addiction: Consequences and Treatment

If you or a loved one are looking for rehab for a gambling problem, we can help! Gambling addiction, whilst not a substance addiction, can be just as destructive as alcohol or drugs. Most that suffer from gambling addiction, do not understand that it is a chronic illness that requires very specific and professional treatment in order to overcome.

Oasis Recovery Communities Runcorn offers a complete abstinence and rehabilitation programme for those suffering from an addiction to gambling. We use a combination of powerful and proven talking and holistic therapies to treat the root causes of the addiction and to provide the individual with a set of recovery tools that they can apply in their daily lives.

Our treatment programme is person-centred, meaning that we treat the individual as a whole with a personalised programme of rehabilitation. By treating the mind, body and spirit of the individual, we provide them with a firm foundation to permanent recovery from the pain and misery of gambling addiction.

What Is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction is recognised and classified by medical and addiction professionals as a process addiction. A process addiction is where an individual becomes addicted to a behaviour or activity that stimulates the brain’s reward receptors and so produces a “high”. Process addictions tend to be easier to hide from family and loved ones, as they do not manifest in the same physical symptoms as a substance addiction; this often delays the individual from seeking treatment until they are in a place of complete hopelessness and desperation.

A gambling addict will be physically and mentally addicted to the anticipation and preparation that they put into the gamble. The brain’s reward systems further cement the addiction with pleasurable and euphoric feelings when the individual “wins” a gamble. The sufferer will compulsively chase these pleasurable feelings regardless of damage to their finances, self-esteem, relationships or security.

A gambling addiction should be considered no less serious than an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Serious financial consequences can cause the individual to take bigger and bigger risks, resulting in them entering a downward spiral of depression and anxiety. Their fear of being found out leads to all kinds of secretive and deceitful behaviours. Eventually, they reach a place of complete and utter desperation where they cannot see a way out; it is at this point that they may well consider taking their own life.

Severe gambling addiction, when the individual feels compelled to gamble even when they want to stop and have suffered negative consequences, is medically referred to as Clinical Pathological Gambling. When a gambling addiction has reached this stage, it is very unlikely that the individual will be able to apply their own logic in order to stop themselves.

Clinical Pathological Gambling is very much a real disorder and often requires clinical and psychological intervention from professionals. Without this, they are very unlikely to stop and will be compelled to carry on with their destructive behaviours, taking bigger risks and suffering ever-increasing consequences as a result.

Types of Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction can manifest in any number of gambling-related activities. Regardless of the gambling method used to produce the euphoric high, the same negative and devastating consequences will occur. Some will satisfy their compulsion by literally gambling on anything and using a multitude of activities as an outlet. Others will stick to one preferred method. Common forms of gambling include:

  • Bingo
  • Online gambling and telephone betting
  • Slot machines
  • Casinos
  • Horse and Dog racing betting
  • Lottery
  • Scratch Cards
  • Playing Card games
  • Amusement Arcades
  • Sports Betting

Recognising the Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering from an addiction to gambling, there are some signs and symptoms that it would be helpful to look out for. Experiencing any of the following can be symptomatic of serious gambling addiction.

If you or a loved one displays the signs of gambling addiction, please seek help immediately. Delaying treatment can result in catastrophic consequences for the individual sufferer and for their family. As with any addiction, gambling can be life-threatening; it is important to take the condition very seriously and seek professional help:

  • Increased risk-taking financially
  • Loss of interest and participation in life, affecting family, work and social life
  • False belief systems: believing that a big win will solve all of their problems
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Creating a complex web of lies to cover up their addiction
  • Borrowing money which they are unable able to repay back
  • Stealing money from family and friends
  • Preoccupation and obsession with gambling
  • Financial affairs suffer and are neglected
  • Unable to face the consequences of gambling and denial of the truth
  • Continuing to gamble despite mounting debt and financial crisis
  • Feelings of guilt, remorse and shame
  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Becoming increasingly isolated
  • Unable to explain large losses of money
  • Defensive and angry, or avoidant, when challenged
  • Feelings of hopelessness and desperation
  • Suicidal thoughts and ideation
  • Unable to stop despite wanting to
  • Feelings of fear and anxiety around being found out
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia and weight loss through worry
  • Becoming increasingly secretive
  • Selling household items and criminal activity for funds

Helping a Loved One Suffering from a Gambling Addiction

If you are concerned that a loved one or family member is suffering from compulsive gambling, it is natural and understandable that you will want to help. The first thing to realise is that you are dealing with someone who is very sick and is suffering from a serious illness that requires professional help and treatment.

Addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease and there is no quick fix. Having an emotional attachment to the individual, you may yourself struggle to take the correct approach in trying to get them to see that they have a problem and in encouraging them to get help. The most helpful approach that we have found is to apply what is known as “tough love”.

Emotional appeal rarely suffices; it is important that you do not in any way unwittingly enable their addiction by preventing them from reaching a place where they become willing to seek help. Protecting a loved one from their own consequences only enables them to carry on in their addiction.

There are a number of ways in which a compulsive gambler may try to get you to help them. It is important not to do any of the following, no matter how much they beg, plead or threaten. Essentially, it is important to recognise the symptoms of their illness and step back from the situation; you may well find it beneficial to seek support and counselling for yourself.

Staff at Oasis Recovery Communities Runcorn are experts in treating addiction and in breaking the denial that surrounds it. You may find it helpful to call us before speaking to a loved one about rehab; we can assist and advise you in taking the correct approach:

Do not enable a gambling addiction by:

  • 3Paying off the individual’s debts
  • Lending or giving money
  • Lying for, or covering up for the individual
  • Denying the problem is there and hoping that the individual will come to their senses
  • Continually running to their rescue
  • Blaming yourself or others for their illness
  • Allow yourself to be manipulated by them

Our Gambling Addiction Programme

Oasis Recovery Communities Runcorn offers a comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation programme for those suffering from gambling addiction. We tailor each patient’s programme to ensure that his or her personal treatment needs are met on a physical, emotional, social and psychological basis. We have many years’ experience in successfully treating addiction in its many forms.

Gambling addiction can be accompanied by substance addiction, another process addiction, or underlying mental health illness. Where there is more than one illness presenting, we ensure that the individual’s treatment plan comprehensively treats all illnesses simultaneously whilst in our care.

We apply a number of powerful holistic and talking based therapies, specially adapted to treat each patient’s individual identified problems. Each of our patients will benefit from the expertise and knowledge of our dedicated clinical team of addiction specialist professionals, many of whom are in recovery themselves, having overcome their own addiction problems.

This places them in a unique place to be able to reach the patient on a much deeper level and quickly cements the therapeutic relationship. Whilst in our care, our patients benefit from treatments, delivered by our experienced Counsellors, Medical professionals, Holistic therapists and Recovery Support workers. Our primary care programmes run up to 12 weeks inpatient; we also offer secondary care and tertiary care/supported living.

If you are considering rehab for you or a loved one and want to know more, please contact us directly for a free assessment over the phone, we can best advise you of the duration and treatment that is most likely to produce a successful outcome.

Our rehab clinic offers the following benefits:

  • A full medical detox for any dual addiction with a substance dependency
  • Residential treatment including therapy, accommodation, and access to swimming baths and gym.
  • A caring and nurturing environment that is recovery focused and supportive.
  • A comprehensive bespoke treatment plan including CBT, DBT, relapse prevention, one to one Counselling, group therapy, fitness programme, family recovery therapy and a host of proven addiction holistic treatments and therapies.
  • 12 months complimentary aftercare for all those that complete treatment
  • A choice of two recovery programmes, our Strengths programme or 12 step
  • The opportunity to go on to secondary care and tertiary care within our therapeutic community

For further information or to arrange an emergency admission, please call us direct and speak to a member of our clinical admissions team.

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  • Oasis Runcorn
    38-40 Bridge St.
    Runcorn, Cheshire,
    WA7 1BY
    United Kingdom
  • Tel. 0203 131 5938
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