A Guide to Getting Help With Gambling Addiction


If you are struggling with compulsive gambling habits, reaching out for help can sometimes feel like a difficult challenge. It’s a brave move to ask for help, and it’s the most important one you can make given how destructive compulsive gambling is.

In the UK, there are several services available to help you take back control of your gambling, but navigating these options can feel overwhelming. This page will take you through these options and list the steps you can take to overcome your gambling addiction.

Key Takeaways

  1. Recognising uncontrollable gambling behaviour is the first step towards seeking help.
  2. Support is available 24/7 through the National Gambling Helpline and local support groups like Gamblers Anonymous.
  3. Treatment options include residential programmes, tailored support services, and counselling for compulsive gamblers and their families.
  4. Maintaining recovery involves dedication, support group meetings, a relapse prevention plan, and incorporating healthy activities into daily life.

Recognising a Gambling Problem

Recognising a gambling issue starts with understanding what problem gambling is and its impacts on your mental health and relationships.

If you’re gambling more than you can afford, chasing losses, or if your betting is causing stress in your connections, it’s time to seek help.

What is Problem Gambling?

Understanding problem gambling starts with recognising it as a condition where you find it hard to control your betting behaviour, despite the negative impacts it may have on your life. (1) It’s not just about occasionally overspending at the casino or buying a few extra lottery tickets; it’s when the urge to gamble becomes uncontrollable, leading to significant financial problems, strained relationships, and potential mental health issues.

Seeking treatment is a courageous step towards regaining control of your life. Remember, problem gambling doesn’t just affect your wallet; it can take a toll on your overall well-being. There’s help available, and taking action now can prevent more severe consequences. You’re not alone in this journey.

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Impact on Mental Health

Beyond the financial strain, gambling addiction often carries profound impacts on mental health, leading to conditions such as anxiety and depression. When you’re caught in the grip of this addiction, you might find yourself preoccupied with gambling, feeling restless or irritable when trying to cut back.

It’s crucial to recognise these signs, as they’re not just markers of a financial problem but indicators of deeper mental health issues. Studies have shown a strong link between problem gambling and an increased risk of suicide, highlighting the severe consequences if left unaddressed.

Seeking help is a brave step towards reclaiming your mental well-being. Mental health professionals can assess the impact of gambling on your overall health and guide you towards a path of recovery.

Impact on Relationships

Many relationships suffer due to the hidden struggles of gambling addiction, where financial hardships and trust issues can deeply impact loved ones. If you’re noticing changes in mood or behaviour within your family, it might be time to have an open conversation.

The consequences of gambling can ripple through relationships, leading to breakdowns, isolation, and a loss of trust.(2) However, there’s hope. By recognising the problem and seeking help, you can begin to rebuild the communication and trust that’s been eroded.

Addressing gambling issues promptly can prevent further damage and promote healthier, more supportive connections. Remember, it’s not just about the money; it’s about maintaining the bonds that keep families and relationships strong.

Step 1: Make Others Aware of Your Problem

Acknowledging your gambling addiction and sharing it with trusted individuals is the first critical step toward recovery. It’s a brave move that transitions you from isolation and secrecy into a space where you can start to heal. Compulsive gambling can feel like a lonely battle, but you’re not alone. By opening up, you create a support network that’s crucial for your journey ahead.

Sharing your problem does more than just lighten your emotional load. It invites those who care about you to understand what you’re going through and how they can help. Whether it’s family, friends, or a dedicated support group, these are the people who’ll stand by you, offering encouragement and assisting you in finding the professional help you need.

Seeking treatment and recovery isn’t a path you should walk alone. With a solid support system, you’re better equipped to navigate the challenges of overcoming gambling addiction. Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection. Every step forward, no matter how small, is a victory. Making others aware of your problem opens the door to a world of resources, guidance, and hope. It’s the first, essential step towards reclaiming your life.

Step 2: Restrict Your Online Gambling Access

Taking control of your online gambling access is a crucial step in your journey to recovery. By using GamStop, you can self-exclude from all licensed online gambling sites in the UK, effectively creating a barrier between you and potential relapse triggers.

It’s a supportive measure that empowers you to focus on your recovery with fewer distractions.

Use GamStop for Self-Exclusion

If you’re looking to rein in your online gambling habits, signing up with GamStop can be a pivotal step toward regaining control. This free online self-exclusion tool, endorsed by the UK Gambling Commission, empowers you to limit your access to a multitude of gambling sites.

By choosing a self-exclusion period ranging from 6 months to 5 years, you’re taking a proactive stand against addiction. GamStop’s comprehensive coverage ensures that once you’re registered, participating websites will block your access, offering you a significant layer of protection as you work on your recovery.

Step 3: Make a Commitment to Stop Gambling

After recognising the need to change, making a concrete commitment to stop gambling is your next crucial step.

It’s time to inform betting shops and casinos about your decision to prevent easy access and temptation.

Prioritising your mental health and finances now will set a solid foundation for your recovery journey, guiding you towards a healthier, more controlled life.

Make Betting Shops and Casinos Aware of Your Problem

As you embark on your journey to recovery, consider informing betting shops and casinos of your gambling addiction through self-exclusion, a proactive step that can significantly reduce your exposure to temptation. By engaging in self-exclusion programmes, you’re taking a courageous leap towards addiction awareness, not just for yourself, but also by making these gambling establishments a part of your recovery efforts. It’s a clear signal of your commitment to change.

This action isn’t just about avoiding triggers; it’s a testament to your determination to take back control. Remember, by choosing these proactive steps, you’re building a safer environment for yourself, one that supports and aligns with your recovery journey. It’s a powerful move that reinforces your resolve to overcome addiction and reclaim your life.

Prioritise Your Mental Health and Finances

Committing to stop gambling is a pivotal step toward safeguarding your mental health and securing your financial future. It’s not just about halting a habit; it’s about reclaiming control over your life.

Remember, you’re not alone. Seeking gambling addiction treatment offers a network of support, guiding you towards recovery. Emphasising your mental health is crucial; it’s the foundation for a balanced, fulfilling life free from the chains of addiction.

Simultaneously, focusing on your financial well-being prevents further harm, paving the way for stability and peace of mind. Leverage the available support, whether it’s therapy, recovery programmes, or financial guidance.

You’ve taken the brave first steps. Keep moving forward, prioritising your health and finances, for a healthier, more stable future.

Step 4: Explore Gambling Support & Treatment Options

After committing to stop gambling, it’s crucial to seek the right support and treatment options that resonate with you.

You’re not alone, and reaching out to the National Gambling Helpline can offer you immediate advice and connect you with resources like local support groups, including Gamblers Anonymous, and programmes for family members affected by gambling addiction.

If your situation calls for more intensive support, consider exploring residential treatment programmes designed to help you navigate recovery in a structured and supportive environment.

National Gambling Helpline

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by gambling addiction, the National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133) offers confidential advice and support around the clock, providing a lifeline in your time of need.

This helpline is a crucial resource for individuals struggling with a gambling disorder, offering a compassionate ear and knowledgeable guidance. Trained advisers are ready to help you assess the impact of gambling on your life and navigate you through various treatment options.

Whether you’re a compulsive gambler seeking a way out or a concerned loved one looking for advice, the National Gambling Helpline ensures that confidential support is just a call away, empowering you to take the first steps towards recovery.

Local Support Groups (Gamblers Anonymous)

For those struggling with gambling addiction, Gamblers Anonymous (3) provides a crucial network of support. They offer regular meetings where you can share your journey and learn from others in a confidential and supportive environment. This group is a beacon of hope for anyone seeking help with gambling, employing a 12-step recovery process that has aided countless people in overcoming pathological gambling.

As a cornerstone of addiction treatment, these local support groups foster a sense of belonging and mutual understanding, crucial for recovery. There’s no cost to join; the focus is on self-help and mutual support. Anonymity is paramount, ensuring you can speak freely about your struggles without fear of judgment.

Embrace the support groups available to you and take a significant step towards a gambling-free life.

Support for Family Members Affected

Recognising the toll gambling addiction takes on families, various support services and counselling options are available to help you navigate the challenges and support your loved one effectively.

As a family member, you’re not alone in this journey. Dedicated support groups and counselling services are tailored specifically for you, providing a safe space to share experiences, gain insights, and learn coping strategies. These resources offer education on recognising signs of gambling addiction and how to address them constructively.

Engaging in family therapy sessions can also improve communication and strengthen relationships within the family. By accessing these support services, you’re taking a significant step towards recovery and providing the effective help your loved one needs to overcome their gambling addiction.

Consider Residential Treatment at Smarmore Castle

Residential treatment at Smarmore Castle is more than a change of scenery. It’s an experience that removes you from the daily triggers and environments that fuel your addiction, allowing you to concentrate fully on your recovery. Our evidence-based therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy, personalised counselling, and continuous support groups, are tailored to uncover and address the root causes of your addiction. These treatments are complemented by our holistic approaches, such as mindfulness practices and recreational activities, ensuring a well-rounded recovery process.

Benefit from our round-the-clock care and supervision provided by experienced professionals dedicated to your recovery. Our programme’s duration varies, tailored to meet individual needs and ensure the most effective treatment, ranging from a few weeks to several months. This flexibility ensures that you receive the precise level of care required for your unique situation.

At Smarmore Castle, we believe in treating not just the addiction but the person as a whole. Our holistic approach promotes overall well-being, incorporating physical fitness, nutritional guidance, and therapeutic leisure activities into the recovery process. This comprehensive care model ensures that you’re supported every step of the way, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Choosing to confront your gambling addiction is a courageous step, and at Smarmore Castle, we’re here to support you through every phase of your recovery journey. With our expert care, serene setting, and proven treatment modalities, we offer the environment and resources necessary to help you reclaim control over your life. Consider the path to recovery with us; it’s not just about overcoming addiction, but building a foundation for a renewed, fulfilling life.

Step 5: Maintaining Your Recovery

Maintaining your recovery from gambling addiction is a continuous journey that involves dedication and a commitment to making positive changes in your life. As you begin on this new path, focusing on your well-being and honouring the efforts you’ve invested in overcoming addiction, Smarmore Castle is by your side, offering a structured continuing care programme designed to support you long after you finish rehab.

At the core of sustaining your recovery is the establishment of a robust support network. Attending regular support group meetings through our Continuing Care programme provides a sense of belonging and shared purpose, essential for those in recovery. You become part of a community dedicated to mutual support and improvement, making the journey less isolating.

Creating a detailed relapse prevention plan is another critical aspect of this stage, and our programme helps you develop strategies to identify and manage potential triggers and stressors effectively. This planning is crucial in keeping you focused and resilient on your recovery path.

Integrating healthy activities and hobbies into your daily life is vital for filling the void left by gambling. Smarmore Castle encourages the exploration of new interests and passions, offering structured activities that promote satisfaction and joy in constructive and fulfilling ways. Additionally, the practice of mindfulness and self-care, key components of our programme, aids in managing cravings and maintaining emotional equilibrium.

Lastly, accountability plays a significant role in sustaining your recovery. Keeping track of your progress, celebrating milestones, and seeking help when faced with challenges reinforce your commitment to a healthier, gambling-free life. Remember, every step you take is a testament to your strength and determination.

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References

  1. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/
  2. https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/
  3. https://www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk/

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