Do I Have A Gambling Problem?
For many people, gambling is a fun hobby, however it is important to recognise that gambling can be extremely addictive and introduce various problems into your life. Gambling can become a destructive activity, meaning it’s important to notice the initial warning signs that you may have a problem. Gambling addiction is an uncontrollable urge to continue gambling, despite the toll it takes on your life. Some of the earliest signs are:
• Depositing more than you can afford to lose
• Raising the stakes as you start to lose
• Re-depositing to “chase” your losses
• Gambling to escape problems
• Feeling irritable if you try to stop gambling
• Lying about the extent of your gambling
• Borrowing or stealing money to gamble
If the fun stops, STOP. There are of course many other signs you may have a problem, therefore you should always keep a check on your gambling and ensure at all times that you are comfortable with it.
What If I Think I Have A Problem?
If you think you have a gambling problem, you’ve already tackled one of the most difficult things; admitting you have a problem. Gambling can stimulate your brain’s reward system, in the same way drugs and alcohol can, which is what makes it such an addictive activity. It is not shameful or degrading to have a gambling disorder, and there are many avenues of help available for you.
Even for someone who considers themselves to be a casual gambler, there are many features that exist to try and ensure that casual gambling doesn’t turn to problem gambling. If you gamble at any online casino regulated by the UKGC (United Kingdom Gambling Commission) you will have opportunities to set deposit limits, loss limits or “time-out” for cool off periods. Withdrawals lock so the option to reverse your withdrawal is no longer available within the UK. Even if you do not have a gambling disorder and you feel in control of your gambling, utilising these tools mentioned above will help to ensure that you have complete control over your gambling, hopefully ensuring you won’t have to struggle with a gambling disorder.
If, however, you have passed that point and now admit you are struggling with a gambling disorder, there are many options to help you stop. You can self exclude for a period of up to 5 years, meaning you won’t be able to sign up to any UKGC casinos to gamble. Casino Live Chats are always available for help, and if you visit one of those, speak to an advisor and explain that you think you are suffering from a gambling disorder they will speak to you, offer advice, and make sure you are excluded from each of their casinos. GamCare and GamStop are making it easier for online gamblers to stop gambling online altogether.
Please remember that if you have a gambling disorder your road to recovery will not be perfect, and as with most addictions you may have slips along the way. Everyone’s journey is different, and far from perfect. If you find your mood is being affected by a gambling disorder then please speak to your GP, and if at any point you feel as though you may harm yourself you can call Samaritans for free on 116 123. If you feel that you need someone to speak to that isn’t a friend or family member you can call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 (Freephone 24/7).
You can read below some information about GamCare and GamStop. Or check out begambleaware for more info.
GamCare is the leading UK charity tasked with providing information, advice and support to those suffering from gambling problems and addiction. The support provided ranges from phone, online, or face-to-face treatment to outreach programmes, with the website itself also providing a lively, community-driven forum, group chat, and various free resources and articles designed to help people manage gambling problems.
GamStop is a free online self-exclusion scheme, that allows those with gambling problems to self-exclude from gambling websites and apps run by companies licenced in Great Britain for 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years, by registering with the website. After this period has passed, you will have to ask GamStop to remove the block in order to be able to use those websites again.