Gambling Addiction

Gambling Addiction, whilst not a substance addiction, can be just as destructive as alcohol or drugs. Most that suffer from gambling addiction, do not realise that there are professional help and treatments available and that a complete recovery is possible.

Primrose Lodge offers a complete abstinence and rehabilitation programme for those suffering from an addiction to gambling. Much like any other addiction, the crux of the problem centres in the individual’s brain. Our treatment programme addresses this through a number of proven and very effective talking and holistic therapies – restoring the individual’s mind, body and spirit and providing a firm foundation for permanent recovery from gambling addiction.

What Is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction is an addiction to an activity or an action as opposed to a substance. Classified as a process addiction, the addict’s brain produces a “high” from the anticipation and preparation that they put into the gamble. The brain’s reward systems further cement the pleasurable feelings when the individual “wins” a gamble. The addiction is to the euphoric feelings that gambling produces in the addict’s brain and should be considered no less serious that an addiction to a substance. Gambling addiction can lead to serious financial consequences, which affect the individual’s self-esteem, security, their personal moral code and their ability to tell the truth. As a progressive illness the condition invariably only gets worse over time. In order to satisfy their craving for the euphoric effect gambling produces, the individual takes bigger and bigger risks; often resorting to lying, cheating and stealing in order to fund their addiction. Unless they undergo a complete change in their thinking and subsequent actions, there is little hope of a full recovery. For some the pain of their consequences becomes too much to bear and sadly they end up taking their own life. They are unable to see a way out of their emotionally crippling situation, depression sets in and they become unable to think rationally and sanely.

Severe gambling addiction, when the individual feels compelled to gamble even when they want to stop and have suffered negative consequences as a result, is medically referred to as Clinical Pathological Gambling. When a gambling addiction has reached this stage, it unlikely that the individual will be able to stop of their own accord. This is very much a real disorder and often requires a clinical and psychological intervention. Without this, they are compelled to carry on with their destructive behaviours, taking bigger risks and suffering ever-increasing consequences as a result.

Treatment for Gambling Addiction

For an individual suffering from gambling addiction, there are few options in terms of treatment on the NHS. Whilst medically it is a recognised disorder, the majority still largely misunderstands it. The NHS can arrange for counselling sessions through an approved cognitive behavioural therapist, but will not fund rehab for non-substance based addictions. This means that the individual has to find a way of their own to enforce abstinence whilst they receive counselling. NHS treatment for gambling is not intensive, with only 1 session per week; the individual still has to endure cravings and temptation. The average waiting time for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on the NHS is 8 to 12 weeks. For an individual in crisis, this is simply not quick enough or intensive enough to be sufficient.

Primrose Lodge can facilitate an immediate admission for any individual with a gambling addiction able to fund treatment. We recognise addiction as a chronic relapsing brain disease that without the correct treatment, can lead to devastating consequences both for the sufferer and their family. The addict is suffering from a compulsion that is beyond his or her own mental control. Often the best solution is to place the individual in an environment that is safe and enforces complete abstinence whilst they undergo intensive treatment, away from temptation. The first step in recovery from any addiction is complete abstinence from the substance or activity that is causing the pain. An intensive period of therapeutic rehabilitation and reconstruction is then required to rewire the individual’s cognitive thought processes and deal with the underlying causes and conditions of the illness. With the correct individualised treatment plan, a full and permanent recovery is possible!

Types of Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction manifests in different ways, but often leads to the same negative consequences for the individual gambler and their family. Some will satisfy their compulsion by literally gambling on anything and using a multitude of activities as an outlet. Others will stick to one preferred method. Common forms of gambling addiction include:

  • Horse and Dog racing betting
  • Bingo
  • Online gambling and telephone betting
  • Slot machines
  • Casinos
  • Lottery
  • Scratch Cards
  • Playing Card games
  • Amusement Arcades
  • Sports betting

Do You or a Loved One Have a Gambling Addiction?

If you or a loved one have a gambling addiction and want to stop, we can help. Experiencing any of the following symptoms can be indicative of a serious gambling addiction; please do not delay treatment, call us now for more information on our gambling addiction programme. As with any addiction, gambling can lead to life-threatening consequences through severe pathological deterioration:

  • Increased risk taking with Gambling
  • Loss of interest in other things such as family, work and social life
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Chasing the belief that a big win will resolve everything
  • Lying to cover up gambling
  • Borrowing money and unable able to repay back
  • Stealing money from family and friends
  • Preoccupation and obsession with gambling
  • Financial affairs suffer and are neglected
  • Unable to face the consequences of gambling and denial of the truth
  • Continuing to gamble despite mounting debt
  • Feelings of guilt, remorse and shame
  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Becoming increasingly isolated
  • Unable to explain large losses of money
  • Defensive and angry or avoidant when challenged
  • Feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts and ideation
  • Unable to stop gambling or control destructive behaviours
  • Feelings of fear of being found out
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia and weight loss through worry
  • Becoming increasingly secretive
  • Selling household items and criminal activity for funds

How to Help a Compulsive Gambler

The first thing to remember, is that you are dealing with someone who is very sick and is suffering from a chronic illness that requires professional help and treatment. Having an emotional attachment to the individual, you may yourself struggle to take the correct approach. The most helpful thing you can do is take the tough love approach and not enable their addiction in any way. Encourage them to seek professional help and realise that you cannot save them. Enabling the addiction will only permit it to continue and progress. It can be tempting to save an individual from negative consequences, but in doing so you are preventing them from reaching a point where they may actually become willing to seek treatment and get well.

There are a number of ways in which a compulsive gambler may try to get you to help them. It is important not to do any of the following no matter how much they beg, plead or threaten. Essentially, it is important to recognise the symptoms of their illness and step back from the situation; you may even find it helpful to seek support and counselling for yourself:

Do not enable a gambling addiction by:

  • Paying off debts for the individual
  • Lending or giving money that could be used to fund gambling
  • Lying for the individual
  • Denying the problem is there
  • Continually running to their rescue
  • Blaming yourself or others for their illness

Our Gambling Addiction Programme

Primrose Lodge offers a comprehensive inpatient rehab programme for those suffering from an addiction to gambling. Each programme is completely individualised to take into account personal treatment needs. We cover all aspects of the individual a whole within our treatment plans; offering specialist treatment for addiction, dual diagnosis and those with a combined substance and process addiction problem. Each treatment we offer is delivered by qualified, experienced therapists, specialising in addiction and co-occurring illnesses. We recommend a minimum of 4 to 8 weeks residential treatment for optimum results. We also offer longer-term treatment programmes of up to 12 weeks primary care and also up to 6 months secondary care. Each individual has different requirements in terms of treatment, so call and chat to us about what we can offer to help you or your loved one to recover from a gambling addiction.

Whilst in our care, you or your loved one will benefit from the following:

  • A full medical detox for any dual addiction to a substance
  • Full residential treatment including therapy, accommodation, meals and access to our own private gym.
  • A caring and nurturing environment with 24/7 support available.
  • A comprehensive bespoke treatment plan including CBT, DBT, relapse prevention, 12 step therapy, family recovery therapy, one to one counselling and a host of proven addiction holistic treatments and therapies.
  • Free 12 months aftercare for all those that complete treatment

For further information or to arrange an emergency admission, please call us direct and speak to a member of our professional clinical team

I didn’t think I had a “real” illness

“As a gambling addict, I couldn’t understand how I could not seem to get my addiction under control. I felt so weak and ashamed around my behaviours. I even resorted to stealing from my wife and children; what kind of person does that? Primrose Lodge taught me the nature of my illness and things then started to make sense. I am not a bad person, yet I was doing bad things and struggling to live with myself as a result. It got to the point where suicide seemed a suitable solution for all. Thanks to the gambling programme I underwent at Primrose Lodge, I no longer behave as I used to. I am now free from gambling, it no longer dictates my every thought and move. I’ve rebuilt my life and relationships and am earning back trust and respect for myself. I can now see a future, whereas before all I could see was darkness. I have complete faith today that if I continue to focus on the solution, the problem will not return” Steve

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Call Now 0203 553 9263
Call Now 0203 553 9263

Call Now 0203 553 9263

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  • Guildford
  • Surrey GU3 3RF