Gambling Addiction Myths
Gambling Addiction Is a Complex Issue and We've Broken down Some Common Misconceptions.
We Dispel Some of the Myths Surrounding Gambling Addiction
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Is gambling negatively affecting your life and the lives of those around you? Are you looking for help with gambling addiction? Or information on how to stop online gambling? Whether you're looking to quit gambling altogether, or just cut down the time you spend playing, there are organisations out there to help you.
Understanding Gambling Addiction
We break down some of the myths surrounding gambling addiction.
- Myth: “Problem gamblers gamble every day.”
It's not how much someone gambles that determines addiction; some problem gamblers may only gamble once a month. Rather it is the mental, physical, and relational effects that suggest an addiction.
- Myth: “Gambling is only a problem when the money is all gone.”
The amount won or lost does not determine the addiction. Some gamblers may incur enough debt that the financial consequences begin to impact on their lives, but this is not always the case. Some gamblers could win big, and then lose all of it next week.
- Myth: “You can’t become addicted to something like gambling.”
The "rush" the gamblers get, the feeling of euphoria that motivates the gambler to keep on with it, involves the same changes in brain chemistry experienced by alcoholics and drug addict. If the compulsion to continue becomes overwhelming, the individual becomes addicted, even though they may deny that they're having a problem.
- Myth: “Problem gambling is just a financial issue.”
Compulsive gambling is an emotional problem with financial consequences. Even if they pay off the gambler’s debts, they will still be a person with an uncontrolled compulsion.
- Myth: “Only irresponsible people have a problem with gambling.”
Gambling problems impact people of all intelligence levels, from all backgrounds. Previously responsible and strong-willed individuals are just as likely as anyone else to develop a gambling addiction.
Although it may feel like you’re powerless to stop gambling, there are many services and programmes out there to help you overcome the problem, repair your relationships and finances, and finally regain control of your life.
Help for Problem Gamblers:
Whether you're looking for anything from therapy to simply cooling off gambling for awhile there is a service available to you. Find more helpful services on our Help page.
For anyone in the UK, the NHS offers Cognitive behavioural therapy, evidence suggests that gambling can be successfully treated in the same way as other addictions.
Treatment Services and Support Groups:
GamCare: offers free information, support and counselling for problem gamblers in the UK. GamCare also runs the National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133) and also offers face-to-face counselling. Click here to find out more about GamCare.
National Problem Gambling Clinic: If you live in England or Wales, are 16 years of age or older and have gambling-related complex issues, you can refer to this NHS specialist clinic for problem gamblers. See if you meet the criteria for this service.
Gordon Moody Association: The Gordon Moody Association offers residential courses for men and women who have problems with gambling – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01384 241292 to find out more. They also runs the Gambling Therapy website, offering online support to problem gamblers and their friends and family. Click here to find out more about Gordon Moody Association.
Gamblers Anonymous UK: Gamblers Anonymous UK runs local support groups that use the same 12-step approach to recovery from addiction as Alcoholics Anonymous. Click here to find out more about Gamblers Anonymous UK.
GamAnon: GamAnon runs local support groups for family members and friends of people suffering from gambling addiction. Click here to find out more about GamAnon.
Device Blocking and Self-exclusion:
Gamban: Gamban is recognised as the most effective gambling-blocking software for online gambling self-exclusion, according to GambleAware-commissioned research, blocking access to over 50,000 gambling sites & apps. Gamban is a digital recovery tool that is used to aid people who are vulnerable to online gambling-related harm.
GAMSTOP: One of the most well-known multi-operator schemes is GAMSTOP, which is currently available as a multi-operator self-exclusion scheme to UK and NI residents. However, It only covers gambling sites based in the UK.
Self-exclusion, aligned with device blocking, is a powerful tool to refrain from gambling. As long as it’s done right, and comprehensively. For a complete list of self-exclusion services click here.
Individual Self-exclusion: All UK licensed casinos MUST offer some form of independent self-exclusion, where user can choose for how long they would like to barred from that casino, online and offline.
Setting Limits: Most casinos will offer some form of setting spending limits. This is a great way to stay within your means.
Both of these options require a large amount will power to remain effective. For the best protection, we recommend a multi-layered solution, such as pairing with gambling blocking software.