Gambling addiction is a real thing, with serious consequences for individuals and their loved ones. It’s important to be aware of the signs, and to talk to someone if you notice any worrying behaviours. Voicing your concerns in a non-judgmental way can help you make the conversation, and it’s important to remember that many people struggling with gambling addiction are in denial. It’s also helpful to have a support network around you – try and spend less time with friends who gamble, or people who may encourage their gambling habits.
In addition, the highs and lows of gambling can be very damaging to mental health. Often, the euphoria of winning can be quickly replaced by feelings of stress, regret and guilt. This can leave individuals feeling empty and meaningless, which can be dangerous if they don’t seek treatment.
In extreme cases, if left untreated, gambling addiction can lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. In most cases however, support reduces this risk and can help people who have struggled with gambling disorder find new ways to cope. There are a number of evidence-based treatments available for this condition, usually starting with behavioral therapy. Those who have an addiction to gambling can also benefit from group therapy and psychodynamic therapy. These types of therapy can help people identify unconscious processes that impact their behavior, as well as helping them develop more stable home environments. If you’re concerned about a loved one, consider arranging an assessment with Priory to find out more about the different treatment options available.