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Break the Cycle: Understanding & Overcoming Gambling Addiction

Updated: Mar 25

Help for gambling addiction

Compulsive gambling or gambling addiction, is a significant problem impacting a substantial segment of the UK population. It presents itself as an inability to manage one's gambling behaviors, resulting in detrimental outcomes across various life situations including financial, social, and personal areas.

Based on a 2019 study conducted by the Gambling Commission, approximately 2.7% of adult individuals in the UK struggle with compulsive gambling, with the highest incidence noted among males aged 25 to 34. The same study highlighted that certain demographics, such as the unemployed, those with lower education levels, and individuals with a history of mental health challenges, are more susceptible to problem gambling.

The impact of compulsive gambling can be extensive and severe. It has the potential to trigger financial hardships, as individuals may allocate substantial sums to gambling, eventually resulting in debts and financial insolvency. Relationships may also suffer, as the individual might prioritize gambling above personal and social commitments resulting in conflicts and strained relationships. In severe cases, it can even drive individuals to crime like theft or fraud to fund their gambling habits.

Many factors can contribute to the surfacing of compulsive gambling, including genetics, environment, and individual characteristics. For example, individuals with a family history of gambling addiction may have a greater susceptibility to developing the problem. Similarly, those exposed to an environment where gambling is prevalent and socially accepted might be more prone to experiencing issues. Personal traits such as impulsiveness and a tendency for risk-taking could also influence the onset of problem gambling.

Break the Cycle with knowledge and support. This section of the blog post will delve into the signs and symptoms of gambling addiction, equipping you to identify the problem in yourself or someone close to you. We'll also explore various treatment options and resources available to help individuals Break the Cycle of gambling addiction and reclaim control of their lives.

The changes are subtle, but they effectively integrate the focus keyword "Break the Cycle" throughout the text without significantly altering the original message. It emphasizes the overall theme of overcoming gambling addiction.

What are the different types of gambling in the UK?


There are an array of gambling options accessible in the UK. Among the main ones are:

  1. Casinos: Playing games like roulette, blackjack, and slot machines either at physical casinos or online platforms.

  2. Sports betting: Placing bets on the outcomes of sporting events like football, horse racing, or tennis.

  3. Lotteries: Buying tickets featuring numbers and aiming for a match with the drawn numbers in the lottery.

  4. Bingo: Playing a game where players mark off numbers on cards as they are called out

  5. Online gambling: Playing games like poker, blackjack, and slots through online platforms.

  6. Skill games: Playing skill-based games such as chess or backgammon for money.

  7. Arcade games: Partaking in games like pinball and video games in arcades, with chances to win prizes.

It's vital to recognize that gambling is subject to regulation in the UK, with all forms of gambling falling under the oversight and licensing of the Gambling Commission.

What is the attraction to online gambling?

A young woman online gambling

Several factors attract people online gambling. Some common reasons why individuals might be attracted to online gambling include:

  1. Convenience: Online gambling offers convenience, as it can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This flexibility allows people to gamble from the comfort of their homes or even while on the move using a mobile device.

  2. Diverse game selection: Online casinos provide a diverse array of games, including traditional casino options like roulette and blackjack, as well as slot machines and other games. This variety ensures there's something for everyone, enabling people to explore different games to find their preferences.

  3. Bonuses and promotions: Numerous online casinos offer bonuses and promotions to entice new players. These incentives may involve free spins, match bonuses, and other rewards that enhance the overall experience.

  4. Social interaction: Some online gambling platforms incorporate a social aspect, enabling players to communicate with others or take part in tournaments. This social engagement increases the interactive and enjoyable aspects of the experience.

  5. Anonymity: Online gambling can provide a sense of anonymity, which might resonate with individuals concerned about privacy or potential stigma associated with gambling.

It's crucial to recognise that while online gambling can be a form of entertainment, it also carries the potential for addiction and unfavorable consequences if not engaged in responsibly. It's imperative to gamble within one's financial means and to recognize the associated risks.

What is the demographic makeup of individuals who play online bingo?

According to a 2019 survey conducted by the UK Gambling Commission, the profile of online bingo players in the UK is outlined as follows: Age: A majority of online bingo players are aged over 35, with the highest prevalence found among those aged 45 to 54. Gender: Online bingo enjoys greater popularity among women, with approximately 60% of online bingo players being female. Educational Background: Individuals with lower levels of education tend to have a higher participation rate in online bingo. Employment Status: Online bingo tends to attract more players who are retired or unemployed.

It's essential to recognize that these demographic trends may vary based on the specific online bingo platform and the types of bingo games available. Furthermore, these statistics offer a general perspective and may not account for all related to online bingo participation.

Is it possible to win gambling?

It is possible to win from gambling, but the likelihood of losing is also high. Gambling involves taking risks with the anticipation of winning money or other incentives.

Yet, the outcome of gambling is frequently uncertain, dictated by chance. Therefore, achieving consistent wins in gambling proves unlikely, emphasizing the notion that gambling should be pursued for enjoyment rather than solely as a means of financial gain.

A crucial approach involves in gambling responsibly, recognizing its inherent risks and potential for addiction. If one opts to engage in gambling, it becomes pivotal to establish personal boundaries and stick to them rigorously. Gaining a grasp of the odds inherent to the games you play in and committing to gambling only with spare funds further reinforces responsible gambling practices.

People who hide their gambling addiction from their loved ones.

Dealing with gambling addiction can be challenging, especially when individuals opt to hide it. Reasons for this secrecy can include worry about judgment, feelings of shame, or a desire to pretend everything is OK.

Several telltale signs may indicate that someone is concealing a gambling addiction from their loved ones. These signs may include

  1. Withdrawal from social engagements: A person grappling with gambling addiction might retreat from previously enjoyed social activities, utilizing this as a means to mask their gambling behavior.

  2. Fabricating activities: To cover up their gambling pursuits, individuals afflicted with gambling addiction might resort to lying about where they are or what they are doing.

  3. Financial turmoil: Gambling addiction can cause financial struggles, racking up debts and financial instability. Hiding these issues may involve hiding bills or offering excuses for their financial problems.

  4. Mood swings: Those dealing with gambling addiction could undergo mood or behavioral shifts, potentially manifesting as heightened irritability or anxiety. These changes may arise from the stress and remorse tied to concealing their gambling habits.

What are the chances of winning big in the national lottery UK

The national lottery

The likelihood of winning a substantial prize in the UK's National Lottery depends on the specific game played in and the particular prize one hopes to win.

For instance, the odds of winning the jackpot in the main Lotto draw currently stand at approximately 1 in 45 million. These odds highlight the significant rarity of winning the jackpot, emphasizing that the chances of winning any prize are also extremely low. In reality, even if every individual in the UK were to buy a lottery ticket, the probability of having fewer than 2 jackpot-winning tickets remains—assuming a jackpot win even happens in that particular draw.

In broad terms, it remains vital to understand that the National Lottery is a form of gambling, and that the probabilities of winning a really worthwhile prize, especially a substantial one, are extremely low. It's crucial to engage with the National Lottery, and all forms of gambling, in a responsible manner, recognizing that it isn't a route to financial gain. Gambling should be pursued for enjoyment and limited to affordable means.

What are the chances of a big win on scratchcards?

A selection of scratch cards

The chances of winning a substantial prize from a scratchcard hinges on the specific game being played and how much you hope to win.

Scratchcards represent a form of gambling where symbols or numbers are revealed on a card to see if a prize has been won.

In a broader context, the prospects of winning a major prize through scratchcards generally stand as extremely low. This stems from the fact that scratchcards are intended primarily as a source of amusement, and the probabilities of winning a prize—especially a significant one—are almost impossible.

The likelihood of winning a prize from a scratchcard is typically laid out on the back of the card or made available through the retailer or the card's manufacturer.

Playing with scratchcards, and all forms of gambling, requires a responsible approach, grounded in the awareness that they aren't a means of generating income. Gambling should be pursued for the sake of enjoyment and be within one's financial means. If you opt to play scratchcard games, it's crucial to set personal limits and stick to them strictly. Additionally, it's important to be conscious of the potential hazards tied to gambling, including the risk of developing an addiction.

Help and Solutions.

Acknowledge the Issue: Aepting that you have a gambling problem stands as the crucial first step in seeking help. While admitting this challenge can be tough, it's pivotal for progression and obtaining help.

Identify Signs: Recognize common markers of a gambling issue, such as an escalating urge to gamble with increased funds, experiencing anxiety when gambling is unfeasible, and concealing your gambling.

Seek Support: Reaching out to someone you trust, either a friend, family member, or mental health expert, can be beneficial. Sharing your gambling problem with them can provide emotional support and guidance for seeking help.

Seek out professional help: There are many resources available for people dealing with gambling problems, including therapy, support groups, and rehab programs. Considering the involvement of a mental health professional or participation in a support group can aid in addressing your gambling problem.

Devising a Strategy: After acknowledging your gambling problem and seeking help, devising a relapse prevention plan becomes crucial. This might mean setting limits on gambling, exploring alternative pastimes, and securing sustained support.

So what help is available?

Gamblers Anonymous

It's crucial to be aware that, although seeking help for a gambling addiction can present challenges, it is absolutely vital for one's recovery and overall welfare. In the UK, if you or someone you know with is struggling with gambling issues, an several resources are out there to aid individuals in overcoming their gambling addiction and fostering a well-rounded, purposeful life. Fortunately, loved ones should provide support, understanding, and encouragement, motivating the individual to seek assistance if concerns about a potential problem arise.

One organization that provides support and assistance for people with gambling problems is the UK's National Gambling Helpline. This service is free and confidential, and is available 24/7. You can call the helpline at 0808 8020 133 or use the live chat feature on their website.

Another organization that offers support for people with gambling problems is Gamblers Anonymous UK. This is a self-help group for people who have a gambling problem and want to stop. Gamblers Anonymous UK holds regular meetings across the country, and also provides a helpline and online support.

Apart from the above resources, numerous local authorities across the UK offer aid and treatment to individuals contending with gambling issues. These provisions may include counseling, therapy sessions, and support groups. To ascertain the services accessible in your area, you can get in touch with your local council or search online.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of your gambling, you can also seek help from organizations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or the National Debt line.

It is important to remember that help is available if you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling problem. Do not hesitate to reach out for support.

Are there therapies that can help with gambling addiction?

A CBT Chart

Yes, there are therapies that have proved to be effective in helping people dealing with gambling addiction. These therapeutic approaches are typically delivered by proficient experts such as therapists, counselors, or psychologists.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) stands as a prevalent therapeutic method used to address gambling addiction. CBT assists individuals in recognizing and altering harmful thought patterns and behaviors that preserve their addiction.

Other therapies that may be helpful in treating gambling addiction include:

  1. Motivational interviewing: This therapy facilitates individuals in navigating and resolving uncertainties regarding their gambling behaviors.

  2. Contingency management: This method involves utilizing rewards or incentives to motivate individuals towards adopting healthy behaviors.

  3. Group therapy: This entails involvement in a group comprising individuals sharing similar challenges, providing a platform for mutual support and mutual responsibility.

  4. Family therapy: This approach entails collaborating with family members to address the consequences of gambling addiction on the family and forming strategies to boost the individual's journey to recovery.

  5. Hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy can be an effective avenue for treating gambling addiction. During hypnotherapy sessions, the individual is induced into a state similar to a trance, making them more receptive to suggestions for change. This technique enables the therapist to use hypnosis for helping the person combat their addiction by discerning and altering the root thought patterns and behaviors that fuel the addiction. Hypnotherapy could be a valuable supplementary tool alongside other treatment methods.

Self-Hypnosis recording produced by a qualified Hypnotherapist.

Self-hypnosis recordings created by a qualified hypnotherapist can offer assistance to certain individuals in managing their gambling behavior, especially when incorporated as part of a comprehensive treatment strategy.

Pre-recorded self-hypnosis sessions serve as a convenient and efficient means for self-guided hypnosis practice. Some potential advantages of utilizing pre-recorded self-hypnosis sessions encompass:

  1. Flexibility: You have the ability to listen to the session at your convenience, fitting hypnosis into your schedule and environment.

  2. Consistency: Pre-recorded sessions facilitate the maintenance of a consistent hypnosis practice, which might be more challenging with in-person sessions.

  3. Tailoring: Certain pre-recorded self-hypnosis sessions are tailored to specific objectives or concerns, such as gambling addiction. This customization proves beneficial if you aim to address a particular issue through hypnosis.

  4. Cost-effectiveness: Pre-recorded self-hypnosis sessions could offer a more budget-friendly alternative to face to face sessions with a hypnotherapist.

It's important to recognize that the effectiveness of different therapies can vary among individuals, necessitating the seeking out of various approaches to determine the most suitable one. Moreover, when seeking treatment for gambling addiction, collaborating with a certified and licensed therapist or counsellor is vital.

Using Self-Hypnosis for a Gambling problem.

Self-hypnosis is a method using visualization and relaxation techniques to enter a state of deep relaxation, often with the goal of making changes to thoughts, behaviors, or habits.

That being said, Self-Hypnosis can be a helpful tool for relaxation and visualization, and it may be used as part of a broader approach to help with you gambling addiction. Take a look at our downloadable session for Gambling Addiction

In Conclusion

The seriousness of gambling addiction is global, impacting countless individuals. Its repercussions include financial turmoil, strained relationships, and a myriad of adverse outcomes. Should you or someone in your circles grapple with gambling addiction, it's imperative to promptly seek assistance.

Sharon Shinwell

I am Sharon Shinwell a UK qualified clinical hypnotherapist. I recently retired from my face-to-face hypnotherapy practice. However, I am able to continue to help individuals through my range of downloadable Self-Hypnosis sessions that address a variety of issues. With my extensive knowledge and experience in the field of hypnotherapy, I am able to provide effective solutions for those seeking to improve their mental and emotional well-being.

"This article represents the personal views and opinions of the author and should not be taken as representative of the official policy or position of any organization, professional, expert, or individual."


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