1. Do you think about gambling a lot of the time?
2. If you lose, do you try to win back this money?
3. Are you upping the amount to get excitement as you gamble?
4. Are you lying to other people about gambling or hiding it from them?
5. Do you need to borrow money because of financial difficulties caused by gambling?
6. Have other people criticised your gambling behaviour?
7. Have you risked losing a job or relationship through gambling?
8. Do you gamble to escape unhappy feelings or problems?
9. Have you tried to stop but find you can’t?
10. Do you feel edgy if you try to stop as if you can’t distract yourself?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to 5 or more of the above descriptions of gambling behaviour, then its likely that you may have a gambling addiction and may benefit from getting specialist help from a BACP accredited therapist, specializing in addiction.
If you would like a confidential and informal chat to see how we may be able to help you please call.
Gambling Counselling in Hove, East Sussex. Tel: 01273 917732
Why is Gambling Addictive and what are the Consequences?
This article reports key findings of a study in 2013 in which compulsive gamblers were interviewed about their compulsive gambling behaviour. Depth interviews were carried out with 6 recent users of a problem gambling counselling service.
4 MAIN REASONS BEHIND ADDICTIVE GAMBLING
4 of 6 gamblers said they had started gambling when they were young:
“…I was 12/13, starting with cards and fruit machines, then moving onto casinos, FOBTs, roulette…”
Latest figures by The Gambling Commission in Feb 2016, show that 18-24yr olds are most likely to develop a problem when gambling, compared to other ages. The Gambling Commission regulates gambling activity in the UK and conducts research on gambling behaviour to inform the Government. For more information visit the website: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/
For a couple of individuals, winning money had been the main motivator:
“…we are not that well off….I needed to take my daughter away to a swimming gala…I started playing bingo online….”
Another three said that gambling had become their main source of excitement:
“I’d do anything and everything to get the buzz….my heart rate was 3 times as fast, you could have a near miss each time…”
Half of the gamblers who were interviewed said they had learnt to take their problems into gambling:
“Gambling was a way to be on my own….an escape from real life problems”
3 REPORTED CONSEQUENCES OF GAMBLING ADDICTION
A Change of Character
When their gambling began to spiral out of control, individuals in this study felt their characters changed for the worse:
“I had to lie….for a few years I had to juggle things…hiding my gambling and having to work more to get money”
“I was unreliable….I stole from my family….I neglected my family….I made everyone cry…”
A Burden of Shameful Awareness
As the compulsion progresses, gamblers describe feeling deeply embarrassed, wanting to hide the extent of their gambling difficulties:
“I could never control myself, I knew it was wrong…..a lowly thing to do, like having an affair”
A Growing Sense of Hopelessness
With continued loss gamblers begin to fear that they are incapable of regaining control:”
Deep down I didn’t think I’d be able to crack it…..I think I have a fundamental flaw…”
Benefits of Specialist Counselling for Problem Gambling in Hove
Gamblers were also asked about their experience of counselling. They described the experience in the following ways:
MYSTERIOUS, UNKNOWN, I WAS NERVOUS, IT WAS DIFFICULT
At first it was difficult for some to speak about their gambling as well as not knowing what to expect from this unfamiliar experience:
“It was very mysterious”
“I didn’t know what to expect…I wanted to find out my counsellor at first… ”
“In the first few weeks I was nervous…”
“Most gamblers find it difficult to speak about their problems…”
Once they got used to talking with a therapist, 3 gamblers said counselling was a comforting experience at a time when they were feeling very low about themselves and without much hope generally:
“I felt comfortable because of the words I got back…..they were encouraging, comforting…..I was down and out…”
HELPFUL THROUGH THE TALKING
All of those interviewed said they had benefitted from being able to talk to someone about their gambling. Counselling was described as being non-judgemental, inspiring confidence through qualified staff, providing guidance and being a “priceless” experience:
“I felt confident as I was talking to someone who was qualified…..this was one of the most important people I’ve ever spoken to, the experience was priceless…”
“I could talk to someone who wouldn’t judge me….I could tell the truth…”
“Gambling is a selfish and lonely way to be and it really helped to talk about it. I was broken…the service guided me…”
USEFUL BECAUSE I LEARNT ABOUT MYSELF AND MY ACTIONS
Gamblers say that counselling helped them to realise how their gambling behaviour affected other people and to understand more about why they gambled.
“I’m starting to know myself, I’m thinking of others and the consequences of my actions”
“My counsellor was interested in how I am…. I have learnt about myself. I was a selfish idiot…”
“With counselling I have realised gambling is not an illness and I’ve broken the habit…”
If you are reading this and wondering whether counselling might help you, but feel unsure because you haven’t had any counselling before, then here are some things that the gamblers in this study said :
WHAT I’VE LEARNT THROUGH COUNSELLING
“If you’re a bad loser you shouldn’t gamble”
“I’d like to think I could gamble again….but I know I’m not strong enough… yet”
“I fucking hate it, bookies, advertising, etc….it makes me angry”
“I won’t play FOBTs anymore…there are many people who think they’re ok and I was one of them”
“Its important to think more about the things you do”
“Gambling might be due to other things going on in your life”
HOW GAMBLING COUNSELLING HAS HELPED ME
“I could now stop myself or tell someone if I started again”
“I’ve learnt what I can do, I’ve learnt to swerve it, control my gambling”
“Now I want to prove I can make it back to normal”
“Counselling has helped with my family, to have a nice new life”
“I’m happy and I feel more powerful”
If you’ve read this article and think you need help or that someone close to you needs help, then you can find support at The Hove Counselling Practice.
Brighton and Hove Problem Gambling Counselling Services
The Hove Counselling Practice provides specialist counselling and psychotherapy persons suffering from compulsive gambling and partners, family or friends who may be affected. The practice is within easy travelling distance of Brighton, Hove, Portslade, Woodingdean, Saltdean, Brighton Marina, Goring by Sea, Lewes, Angmering, Littlehampton, Worthing, Sompting, Hollingbury, Preston Park, Bevendean, Brighton Marina, Kemptown, Moulsecoomb, Ovingdean, Rottingdean, Coldean, Falmer, Hollingbury, Patcham, Preston, Stanmer, Withdean, Ferring, Falmer, Findon, Steyning.