Gambling Counselling

Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment imagesCA1301P5.jpg

Whether you bet on sports, scratch cards, roulette, poker, or slotsóin a casino or onlineóproblem gambling can strain relationships, interfere with work, and lead to financial catastrophe. You may even do things you never thought you would, like stealing money to gamble or pay your debts. You may think you canít stop but, with the right help, you can overcome a gambling problem or addiction and regain control of your life. The first step is recognizing and acknowledging the problem and our gambling counselling service can help with this.

Understanding gambling addiction and problem gambling

GimagesCAZ50K25.jpgambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder. Compulsive gamblers canít control the impulse to gamble, even when they know their gambling is hurting themselves or their loved ones. Gambling is all they can think about and all they want to do, no matter the consequences. Compulsive gamblers keep gambling whether theyíre up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed. Even when they know the odds are against them, even when they canít afford to lose, people with a gambling addiction canít ďstay off the bet.Ē

Gamblers can have a problem, however, without being totally out of control. Problem gambling is any gambling behaviour that disrupts your life. If youíre preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences, you have a gambling problem.

Myths & Facts about Gambling Addiction and Problem Gambling

MYTH: You have to gamble every day to be a problem gambler.
FACT: A problem gambler may gamble frequently or infrequently. Gambling is a problem if it causes problems.

MYTH: Problem gambling is not really a problem if the gambler can afford it.
FACT: Problems caused by excessive gambling are not just financial. Too much time spent on gambling can lead to relationship breakdown and loss of important friendships.

imagesCALT9TSA.jpgMYTH: Partners of problem gamblers often drive problem gamblers to gamble.
FACT: Problem gamblers often rationalize their behaviour. Blaming others is one way to avoid taking responsibility for their actions, including what is needed to overcome the problem.

MYTH: If a problem gambler builds up a debt, you should help them take care of it.
FACT: Quick fix solutions may appear to be the right thing to do. However, bailing the gambler out of debt may actually make matters worse by enabling gambling problems to continue.

Relieving unpleasant and overwhelming feelings without gambling: Unpleasant feelings such as stress, depression, loneliness, fear, and anxiety can trigger compulsive gambling or make it worse. After a stressful day at work or after an argument with your spouse or co-worker, an r the betting shoimagesCA4S34RI.jpgp, internet or casino can seem like a fun, exciting way to unwind. But there are healthier and far less expensive ways to keep unpleasant feelings in check. These may include exercising, meditating, using sensory relaxation strategies, and practicing simple breathing exercises.

For many people, an important aspect of quitting gambling is to find alternate ways to handle these difficult feelings without gambling. Even when gambling is no longer a part of your life, the painful and unpleasant feelings that may have prompted you to gamble in the past will still remain. So, itís worth spending some time thinking about the different ways you intend to deal with stressful situations and the daily irritations that would normally trigger you to start gambling.

TreaimagesCA12C947.jpgtment for problem gambling
Every gambler is unique and so needs gambling counselling to develop a recovery program tailored specifically to him or her. What works for one gambler wonít necessarily work for you. The biggest step in treatment is realizing you have a problem with gambling. It takes tremendous strength and courage to own up to this, especially if you have lost a lot of money and strained or broken relationships along the way. Donít despair, and donít try to go it alone. Many others have been in your shoes and have been able to break the habit.

Therapy for problem gambling

Cognitive-behavioural therapy for problem gambling focuses on changing unhealthy gambling behaviours and thoughts, such as rationalizations and false beliefs. It also teaches problem gamblers how to fight gambling urges, deal with uncomfortable emotions rather than escape through gamblinimagesCA26WUW7.jpgg, and solve financial, work, and relationship problems caused by the addiction.

The goal of treatment is to ďrewireĒ the addicted brain by thinking about gambling in a new way and to change your thoughts and beliefs about gambling. Seeing a therapist does not mean you are weak or canít handle your problems. Therapy is for people who are smart enough to realize they need help. It can give you tools and support for reframing your thoughts that will last a lifetime.

If you live in central or north London, contact us now to find out how our gambling counselling service can help you overcome this condition. 

Call us today for more information or to arrange a counselling or psychotherapy session in central or north-west London or Elstree (covering Bushey, Radlett, Watford St Albans and the surrounding areas)



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Malcolm Kirsh saves lives, it is that simple. To have someone alongside who has 30 years of life experience and knows how people behave, as well as why, seems to me to be an essential part of a contented existence...

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