Gambling addiction is a growing problem in the UK and many attribute this to the fact that there are numerous online gaming sites in operation with attractive TV advertising as well as the promise of free bets to new account holders. Those who open up new accounts are guaranteed anything up to three times their deposit amount in free bets; this can seem like a great idea to many, particularly when they hear about others having won large sums of money.
Those tempted by these gambling sites may believe that depositing a small amount of money is harmless, and for many it is. However, the thrill associated with gambling can be addictive, and many become hooked quite quickly. They may soon begin depositing more money in an effort to get that big win and experience the repeated thrill of the gamble.
The trouble with a gambling addiction is that there are no visible physical symptoms as there are with other addictions such as alcohol or drug addictions. For that reason, many refer to a gambling addiction as a secret addiction or a hidden problem. Loved ones often do not realise that a gambling problem exists until it is too late and the addiction is quite severe. This can often be when large sums of money have been lost and the person affected is close to financial ruin.
A Nationwide Problem
Many associate gambling with betting shops or casinos but these days, gambling can be done from home or work. Some people even gamble while on their way to and from work using their mobile phone or tablet.
Family members may have no clue that their loved one is sitting gambling away their hard-earned cash as they sit on the sofa with their laptop in hand.
Gambling addiction is affecting thousands of families across the UK, and it often comes with devastating consequences, including financial hardship and the breakdown of relationships.
Effect on Relationships
Gambling addiction affects not only the person with the addiction but also their family members and friends. When one person is spending every available penny on gambling addiction, it can cause arguments and stressful situations in the home. Marital relationships can suffer greatly because of one spouse’s gambling addiction, and children are often left without life’s necessities.
Many gambling addicts will resort to borrowing from family members or friends when their own available funds have been gambled away. They will usually lie about what the money is for and many struggle to pay this money back, which can result in strained relationships.
Others will resort to cheating or stealing from loved ones when they get desperate for cash to fund their habit. Some will even commit crimes, which can lead to court cases and imprisonment. All of this can devastate families and relationships with friends.
Signs of a Gambling Addiction
If you are worried about a friend or relative and suspect they may have a gambling addiction, the following signs should give you an indication:
- being obsessive about gambling and talking about it all the time
- becoming irritable when not gambling
- lying about how much or how often they gamble
- chasing losses and becoming agitated when losing money
- spending larger amounts on bets in order to get excited
- continuing to gamble even when it is obviously causing harm
- continuously borrowing money from friends and family, and struggling to pay it back.
Where to get Help
A gambling addiction is an illness, but the good news is that it can be treated. Addiction Helper is a free service working hard to ensure that those suffering from addiction get the help they need. If you or a loved one needs help for addiction, contact Addiction Helper today for invaluable, confidential advice and support.