How to Identify a Gambling Problem
While the vast majority of players can happily enjoy a few hours of playing their favourite slots and other casino games without any negative effects, there is a certain percentage of people who are more susceptible to associated problems. In this article, then, we will discuss the warning signs for which you can look out for if you, a friend or a family member are experiencing addiction to casino games or other related issues. We’ll also give you some advice on what you can do about it, where you can look for further information and to whom you can speak to ensure that you or someone you know can receive professional help in times of need…
The warning signs of possible addiction
While we’ve probably all heard of the dangers of problem gambling, including isolation, financial trouble and losing connections with loved ones, it’s still hard to identify the earliest stages in either yourself or someone you know so that the problem can be dealt with before it’s too late. Here’s a list of the major red flags that you can apply to either yourself or someone close to you:
- Spending a lot of time thinking or talking about gambling
- Experiencing difficulties in managing or stopping gambling
- Exceeding your spending limits, whether that’s time or money
- Hiding how much time is spent at a land-based or online casino
- Chasing loses to alleviate financial burdens like loans and overdrafts
- Gambling so much that rent, bills and/or other obligations go unpaid
- Having no interest in friends, family or hobbies other than gambling
- Arguing with friends or family about gambling or money troubles
- Shunning work, family or educational responsibilities to gamble
- Borrowing money or selling items to pay for more gambling time
- Increasing how much is spent on gambling to get a better buzz
- Regularly experiencing guilt, worry, anxiety, depression or irritability
Problem players can experience only one of the things laid out above, or else it can be a combination of multiple items on the list. If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of these traits, then either you or they may have a problem that needs addressing as soon as possible. The symptoms can spiral out of control very quickly, so you should seek advice right away.
What to do if you’ve identified a problem
Time is of the essence here. After all, it’s extremely easy to rack up huge debts in the UK, given the abundance of credit card offers, personal loans and other financially harmful deals. Mental health can also deteriorate quickly if a problem becomes seemingly insurmountable or out of control. Luckily, there are plenty of professional organisations that offer non judgemental advice free of charge. Furthermore, there are self-testing technologies now, as well as tools to self exclude or block. Below, we’ve listed the best UK agencies, sites and services in alphabetical order, so that you can find the appropriate for yourself or your loved one right away:
A free to use site that can help you to play responsibly within your means if problems seem mild. The website is packed with information about how to gain control over time and money.
Citizens Advice Bureau
A free at the point of use service that gives practical advice on how to manage debt, loan repayments and/or legal issues resulting from gambling debts and other financial trouble.
Similar to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), GA brings together compulsive players to share their stories and to help each other combat their problems. You can call them on 020 7384 3040.
Software that is installed on your computer to prevent you from accessing online casinos or sports betting sites. Users are redirected to Gamblock to receive advice in a time of need.
A charitable organisation that provides problem players with impartial advice and practical steps for combatting their addiction. GamCare can be contacted directly anytime on 080 8802 0133.
Gordon Moody Association
A multifaceted treatment provider for gambling addicts. Services include rehabilitation centres around the country, outpatient support and online counselling. Its number is 01384 241292.
This round-the-clock service provides people with someone to talk to if they are experiencing emotional distress, mental health problems or suicidal tendencies. Contact them on 116 123.
Here, we’ll cover some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic. We hope that you and those who are close to you never have to experience these problems, but prevention is always better than cure if possible. So, always seek advice the moment you identify an issue.
Which people are most vulnerable to gambling addiction?
The statistics show overwhelmingly that men are the most vulnerable, however, women are beginning to close the gap. Young people are also highly susceptible, especially if they start gambling in their early teens. Finally, those with mental health problems such as ADHD, depression and anxiety will find that casual playing can easily turn into an addiction.
How can I prevent myself from becoming addicted?
There are some things you can do to minimise your risk. Create a budget for how much you can afford to lose and stick to it. Ensure that you limit the amount of time spent playing online. Don’t gamble when you’re feeling depressed or anxious. Never chase your losses. Talk to someone as soon as you feel like you might have a problem.
How can I help someone with a gambling problem?
First of all, contact one of the organisations listed above for expert advice and follow their guidelines. In addition to that, be sure to look after yourself and never lend them any money. Try to not get angry with the person if they relapse, but instead encourage them to get back on track. Talk to other people to share your burden.