When gambling becomes harmful.
Is gambling just a part of normal life?
- For some gambling might seem like a part of everyday life… a pound on the lottery or a bet on the Grand National. For many people it’s an occasional activity. It is estimated however that about 70 out of every 1000 people gamble at levels that are more than just occasional and thought to be risky.
- Gambling is defined as being a problem if it disrupts or damages personal, family or leisure time.
So ask yourself ‘Is this really a problem for me?’
Answer either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the following:
- Do I spend a lot of time thinking about gambling?
- Am I spending a large amount of money on gambling?
- Have I tried to cut back on my gambling and failed?
- Do I get irritable about people commenting on my gambling?
- Do I gamble to cheer myself up or to escape from stress for a while?
- Have I ever lied to others about how much I actually gamble?
- Have I ever stolen money to fund a gamble?
- Has gambling affected my relationships or my work?
- Do I ever get a mate or family member to lend me money when I have lost?
What can cause you to lose control of your gambling?
- Use of drink or drugs
- Trying to make yourself feel better if you are down or depressed
- Gambling to forget all the responsibilities of everyday life
- When frustrated or angry with others or even yourself
- Learnt from parents who may have been gamblers
What harm could problem gambling cause?
There are many different types of harm that problem gambling can cause to you and your family. These include:
- Family relationships
How can you help yourself?
Professional help will always increase any chance of success but there are several things you can start to help yourself. These include:
- Limit the amount of money you will gamble in a week and then stick to it!
- Leave credit or debit cards at home when out in a casino or other event
- Set limits online and don’t go over them
- On pay day make sure all important bills are paid first before you use any money for gambling
- Reduce the number of times you gamble in a week e.g. from maybe every day to every other day with a slow decrease over time.
- Always be prepared to lose- The House always wins!
- Never spend savings or money you can’t afford to lose on gambling
- Tell mates and family members not to lend you money if you ask
- Take up a new hobby or activity
- Spend more time with your friends and family
- Join a group
- Talk to a mate!
What professional help is available if I want it?
There are many organisations nationwide and locally that can help you professionally.
- NHS Choices website https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/addiction/Pages/gamblingaddiction.aspx
- Gamcare- is the national helpline on 0845 6000 133, with the sister service on NetLine, available online. Locally available services can be discussed via these two services.
- The 12 step meetings of Gamblers Anonymous on 020 7384 3040
These services can help with such approaches as counselling, practical advice on how to manage your gambling as well as ongoing support.