Problem Betting and Gambling Addiction
The vast majority of people who take part in betting and gambling do so responsibly, as a form of recreation and entertainment. Everyone that gambles in a casino or places a bet of course hopes to win, but there is a big difference between wanting to win and needing to win. If you ever find that you are gambling because you need to win money, that is when you need to stop – immediately – and ask yourself some hard questions.
Problem gambling is a well-publicized social issue and it is true to say it can have devastating effects both on the individual involved and their family and friends. While, thankfully, problem gamblers only account for a small proportion of those that engage in the activity it is a serious matter. For an addicted gambler, the urge to have a bet can be incredibly strong and hard to fight. Like any addiction, it is tough to beat without help.
Luckily, help IS available – to those that want it. The first step is in being honest and recognizing that there is a problem, only then can it be dealt with. There are many resources available to anyone that feels that may have an addiction to gambling – the following two organizations have websites which are particularly helpful.
- Gamblers Anonymous - ( http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ ) Gambler Anonymous (GA) is a fellowship of people that share their personal experiences with problem gambling to try and help others that want to stop gambling. There are divisions of GA all over the world and is recognised as the foremost organisation committed to help with gambling addiction.
- Gamcare - ( http://www.gamcare.org.uk/ ) Gamcare is a UK organization committed to providing information, advice and counseling to help prevent and treat problem gambling.
If you believe that you, or someone close to you, have a problem with gambling then visit the above websites and look for help. Both websites contain a list of questions you should ask yourself to determine whether or not a problem exists. Answer these questions – and answer them honestly - and if the suggestions are that there is a problem then don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Gambling addiction is often viewed as something that befalls the weak, the reckless or the irresponsible. This is simply not true. As with virtually any form of addiction, it can happen to anyone – even the most unlikely candidate. Gambling can provide a “buzz” or “high” and it is often that euphoria that forms the addiction – in the same way a drug user gets addicted. It’s not necessarily about the money, it’s the escapism from real life that gambling can offer. If you know someone you suspect is a problem gambler, it is important not to judge them but to try and help them. After all, nobody consciously chooses to become a gambling addict.
There has been plenty of research into problem gambling, and as a result much as been learned about it. The causes can vary from biological or genetic reasons to pathological ones and is strongly related to other impulse disorders such as kleptomania. Other research has countered claims that the advent of online gambling had resulted in a large increase in problem gambling. A study conducted by the Gambling Commission in the United Kingdom in 2007 concluded that the percentage of the adult population that suffered from problem gambling was the same as in 1999 at around 0.6%.
There is no approved medical treatment for gambling addiction and counseling, self-help and peer-support are among the best known methods for prevention and cures. Fundamentally, the problem gambler needs to want to stop before they can be helped.
The reputable online betting sites all have measures in place to help potential problem gamblers. They offer functions to restrict your gambling in terms of the amount or frequency of deposits and allow you to self-exclude yourself for a period of time or permanently. If you feel your gambling is getting out of hand then don’t try and rely on self-control – use these options to help you stop.
Remember, gambling should always be first and foremost about having fun. If it’s not fun for you, then it is time to stop.