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What is problem gambling?

11:51am, 23/09/13

Slot machinesMany people like to place the occasional bet or play a few casino games on a night out with friends. However, for an estimated 450,000 people in the UK, problem gambling is a serious affliction with far reaching consequences. Problem gambling is defined as when a person’s gambling habit becomes detrimental to their personal relationships, mental well being, career, finances and life in general. In some extreme cases, gambling causes a corruption in peoples morals; problem gamblers often find themselves lying to borrow money or even resorting to criminality in order to pay off gambling debts.

No way out?

It should come as no surprise that gambling addictions are closely linked with low self esteem and excessive drug and alcohol usage. Suicide rates are also astonishingly high for extreme gamblers. The United States National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that around one in five problem gamblers attempt to kill themselves. Unlike other addictions that have immediate physical consequences (such as having your stomach pumped after a night of binge drinking), gambling is far more insidious and easy to hide.

Accumulating a vast gambling debt without being outwardly accountable to anyone is easy in this day and age. Often it’s only once the gambling debt becomes insurmountable and the shame becomes intolerable that the addict is forced to own up to their actions. Instead of facing the consequences of months (or years) of problem gambling, many addicts sadly see suicide as the easier option. For many addicts who experience recurrent suicidal thoughts, problem gambling tends to exacerbate a number of pre-existing conditions such as social anxiety, isolation, low self esteem and depression. Problem gambling tends to worsen the addict’s pre-existing issues, which in turn leads to more excessive gambling causing a snowball effect and ultimately the decision to commit suicide.

Easy access gambling

In today’s day and age, access to gambling is at an all time high. Never mind the vast multitude of online gambling sites easily accessible via computer; technological advancements now allow smartphone users to place bets or play casino games any time of day, from any location. Long gone are the days when you had to go to the bookmakers to place a bet; now every type of gambling you can think of is available instantly at the click of a mouse. We’re living in an era when you can lose your life savings playing poker on the internet, without even having to leave your house.

More people are drawn to gambling because they can do so anonymously. Avoiding the social stigma attached to walking into a bookmakers is no longer a legitimate deterrent. With regular advertisements for online gambling websites during football matches and marketing campaigns for online bingo now being targeted at women, it is only reasonable to assume the rise in problem gambling is only going to increase.

A solution

Hypnotherapy can help address the complex and often interrelated conditions that lead to problem gambling. In a state of deep hypnosis, the subconscious mind can be accessed and dysfunctional behaviour patterns can be broken through the power of suggestive speech. Your hypnotist will also leave you with techniques for managing any potentially detrimental thought processes or associations that may still remain after the treatment is complete.

(Photo by Lisa Brewster)

Disclaimer: with all hypnotherapy, results and the number of sessions required may vary from individual to individual.

2015 Don Ely, all rights reserved . last update: 23/11/17