Gambling Addiction is an addiction to a certain activity. The addict becomes addicted to the anticipation and euphoria produced when preparing and placing a gamble. This is further reinforced when the gambler wins. Whilst it is not a substance addiction, the consequences can be just as destructive as alcohol or drugs. Most that suffer from gambling addiction, do not realise, that as an addiction, it is a recognised medical condition and there is professional help and treatments available that make recovery possible.
Bradford Oasis 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, in their thinking, obsessions, beliefs and compulsive subsequent behaviours. Whether the addiction is to a substance, activity or person, it not really relevant; as this is just an outward symptoms of the condition. Addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease, as classified by Public Health England. It requires professional and often intensive treatment during a period of enforced abstinence, whilst the individual undergoes specific therapies to address the psychological aspect of the addiction.
Our Gambling addiction treatment programme treats the individual as a whole person, using a person centred approach to therapy. This means that we treat the mind, body and the spirit. With an individualised treatment plan, aimed at tackling the root causes of the addiction and the maladaptive thinking patterns, behaviours and coping strategies, we are able to restore the compulsive gambler to sanity and provide a firm foundation for permanent recovery from 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 flooding the brain’s receptors with high levels of Dopamine, (the brain’s naturally occurring “happy” chemical). It has been proven that addicts suffer from a lack of production of this naturally occurring chemical; so when they find a substance or action that stimulates its production; they latch onto it, obsess over it and become addicted to it. The anticipation and preparation that they put into the gamble is just as rewarding. Their addiction is further cemented by the pleasurable feelings from the chemicals released in the brain when the individual “wins” a gamble. The addiction is to the euphoria 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. Addiction is a progressive illness, as the body and brain adjust to the high produced, more severe measures are required to increase the dopamine production and to feel the euphoric effects once again. Gambling Addiction, over any given period of time and if left untreated, will only ever get worse. Gambling addicts will do almost anything to get their next high, even when it means cheating, manipulating, lying and stealing in order to fund and enable their addiction. They are driven by a mental obsession and compulsion that is beyond their own control.
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 and the continual harm they cause to themselves and to their loved ones; 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 an intensive clinical and psychological intervention. Without this, they are compelled to carry on with their destructive behaviours, taking bigger and bigger risks and suffering ever-increasing consequences as a result.
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 of individuals still largely misunderstand it. The NHS can arrange for counselling sessions through an approved cognitive behavioural therapist, but will not fund rehab for a non-substance based addiction. 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 one session per week; the individual still has to endure obsessing, temptation and compulsions on a daily basis. The average waiting time for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on the NHS is 8 to 12 weeks. For an individual in crisis or with a chronic gambling addiction, this is simply not quick enough or intensive enough to be sufficient.
At Bradford Oasis, we 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 to those closest to them. 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 they are compelled to do. 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 and intensive treatment plan, that we provide, a full and permanent recovery is possible!
Gambling addiction manifests in many different ways, but always 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 gambling related activities as an outlet. Others will stick to one preferred method of gambling. Common forms of gambling include:
If you or a loved one have an addiction to gambling and want to stop, we can help. Experiencing any of the following symptoms can be indicative of a serious gambling addiction. If this is the case with yourself or a loved one, it is imperative that you seek professional help immediately. Delaying treatment for any addiction, including gambling, can lead to life-threatening consequences through severe pathological deterioration:
The first thing to remember, is that you are dealing with someone who is very mentally unwell 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; realise that you cannot save them as you are not equipped with the specialist treatment that this particular addiction requires. At best, you can hope that they will admit the problem and agree to get professional help.
Enabling any 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. By providing the individual with a safety net to fall back on, they are unlikely to want to stop or change their ways. Any Addiction has to become incredibly painful for the individual to reach a place where they want to stop for themselves and are willing to do whatever it takes to get well.
There are a number of ways in which a compulsive gambler may try to get you to enable them and their addiction. It is important not to do any of the following; no matter how much they beg, plead or threaten. It is important to recognise these as the symptoms of their illness and step back from the situation. You may even find it helpful to seek support, advice and counselling for yourself:
Bradford Oasis offers a comprehensive inpatient rehab programme for those suffering from an addiction to gambling. Our treatment programmes are completely individualised to take into account each patients personal treatment needs and requirements. We cover all aspects of the individual and treat them as a whole within our treatment programme. We offer specialist treatment for any kind of addiction, dual diagnosis and those with a combined substance and process addiction problem. Each treatment we offer is delivered by qualified, experienced Counsellor or therapist, specialising in treating addiction and its common 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. Those that feel vulnerable or unsafe to return back to their home environment, can benefit from living in our tertiary care recovery communities; for additional support to help them to reintegrate into the community, free from their addiction and to support them in rebuilding their lives. Each individual has different needs and requirements in terms of treatment, we recognise this and this is why each patient’s treatment programme is specifically tailored to their treatment needs as an individual.
If you would like further advice on how to help a loved one, or how we can help you to recover from Gambling addiction, please call us directly or chat to us LIVE online now!
Whilst in our care, you or your loved one will benefit from the following:
For further information, or to arrange an emergency admission, please call us directly and speak to a member of our professional clinical team today
I felt trapped in a web of lies
“Gambling took me to the most painful place imaginable. I was constantly lying to my family, my wife and to myself. I made so many attempts to stop, but within a few days the compulsion was too much to bare and I’d find myself in the yet bookies again. Letting myself and my family down, yet again. My debts were mounting and all hidden from my wife; I was scared she would leave me if i told her the truth. I hated myself so much, I even contemplated taking my own life; I just couldn’t see a way out and didn’t understand why I couldn’t stop. My whole life was a complete lie. I’m so grateful I reached a place where admitting the truth was less painful than continuing as I was. Bradford Oasis helped both me and my family to understand the nature of my illness and showed me a solution, a way out, freedom at last!! I am rebuilding the trust and my life slowly, these things take time, but I no longer suffer from the compulsion to gamble and trust it will stay that way, providing I keep doing what the counsellors have taught me.” Neil