What is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling is often described as a ‘Process Addiction’

As with pornography, the effects of indulging in gambling can be similar to those experienced when using stimulant type drugs. Gambling can stimulate the dopaminergic reward system as it offers immediately available access to a world specifically designed to entice and hold gamblers.

Gambling also offers those who indulge an escape; similar to the effect of depressant type drugs.

These combined effects, and the internal guilt, shame and sense of being a loser are extremely powerful forces that ensnare and entrap the gambler.

What are the signs it is becoming a problem?

Mental, Emotional & Physical well-being

We may begin to experience occasional worries about our gambling. These are kept to ourselves and we make excuses for our gambling, we consider it a temporary activity we can stop at any time. We justify our gambling to self and others.

However, we may become more secretive, spend reducing amounts of time with family and friends doing the things that we once enjoyed and valued.

Our thinking becomes impaired (examples may include);

We can develop physical symptoms of the building problem including:

behavioural difficulties including:

Relational well-being

The impacts on those closest to us can be significant.

Initially partners and others can be easily reassured and may even accept our assurances that the gambling will be managed or cease.

However, as we withdraw more into our gambling world others can feel isolated, anxious about the relationship, financial and other security, let down and hurt.

Often this can lead to depressive states not just in us but also in those we care for most.

Our core sense of self – our Spiritual well-being

We know and feel the distress associated with all of the above issues; more, we know and feel the distress of letting ourselves down.

We struggle at the very core of our being with the dis-connect between what we want to do and what we see ourselves doing.

Often focusing on the damage we have already done, the feelings of shame and guilt mean we struggle to see a future that contains anything more than a continuation of this distress – we see ourselves as being total losers!

We can’t see a way back – how we could make up for the damage we’ve done, how we can manage the guilt and shame we carry as a result of that?

These can be devastating to a person – but, I can assure you, there is a way back; in fact, there are many!

In reality, gambling is simply a behaviour, a problematic behaviour, but, a behaviour none the less.

With safe, compassionate professional support this behaviour too, can be managed!

Take this simple screen to see if your gambling might be a problem?

If you answer ‘Yes’ to two or more of these questions, it may be – contact me today!

An outline of how we could work together to manage your gambling, is offered here.