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Gambling addiction Counselling

Gambling activity can be broken into 3 different categories: social gambling, problem gambling and pathological gambling. Social gambling lasts for a finite period of time and is typically done with other people. Social gamblers identify what they can afford to lose ahead of time and keep it to reasonable amount.

Problem gambling involves an inability to cut back, being preoccupied with it, and continuing to gamble even if there are adverse consequences.

Pathological gambling involves the compulsion to continue gambling even when you want to stop and/or there will be harmful consequences. Pathological gamblers cannot stop themselves from gambling because a compulsive thought prevents them from doing so.

According to the Gambling Prevalence Survey conducted by the Gambling Commission at least 250,000 people in the UK suffer from problem gambling. With support, people with a gambling addiction can recover and learn to live healthier, happier lives.

Characteristics of a Gambling Addiction

Having a good support system with an impartial counselor can be all that you need to make a positive change in your life. Remember, you are not alone. If you are here because you think you might have a gambling problem then you’ve made the first and most difficult step, congratulations.

You may want to get professional help if you display any of the following characteristics:

  • You are gambling more frequently and with larger amounts of money
  • You think about gambling most of the time
  • You spend your free time gambling instead of enjoying family or personal time
  • Gambling and getting more money to gamble keeps you preoccupied
  • You feel a sense of exhilaration when you gamble
  • You gamble even when it causes problems with work, family or other areas of your life
  • You use gambling as way to cope with your struggles
  • You feel and urgent need to gamble
  • You are borrowing money so that you can gamble
  • Lying and keeping secrets about how often you gamble and how much you spend gambling

Support Options for Problem Gamblers

As with many of life’s most challenging struggles, the most important thing to have when recovering from a gambling addiction is a good support system.

In the UK there are many resources for people struggling with a gambling addiction.  Gambling addicts can seek out support through mutual aid groups like Gamblers Anonymous or GamCare. You can seek out counselling through a rehabilitation centre, the Salvation Army, or privately. Some people gain strength through their religious faith.

Combined with any of these resources, support from family and friends will also be invaluable.

How Can Gambling Addiction Counselling or Psychotherapy Help?

If you choose to pursue the services of a gambling addiction counsellor, they will be able to provide you with a safe and confidential environment where you can talk about your gambling, your feelings surrounding your gambling, and any events that may have lead up to your struggles with gambling. The goal of counselling is to help you learn how to best help yourself.

A counsellor can help you:

  • Look at the reality of the amount of gambling you are participating in
  • Help you develop ways to cope with your gambling
  • Help you to understand why you struggle with gambling
  • Help you to address the issues that cause you harm
  • Improve the quality of your life outside of gambling
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