Issues with Gambling

Problem Gambling

"Problem Gambling" includes (though not limited to) a condition known as "Compulsive" or "Pathological" Gambling. This progressive addiction is characterized by: increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, irritability or restlessness, when trying to stop, "chasing" losses, and loss of control expressed by continuing to gamble in spite of increasing, serious and negative consequences.

This is very different to people for whom gambling is an enjoyable pastime and does not cause any difficulties because they are able to control their behaviour - prepared to spend and lose what they can realistically afford. However, it has been estimated that for every person who has a problem with gambling, another five people are negatively affected.

The problem gambler may only have spasmodic gambling binges, yet emotional and financial consequences will be evident in the gambler's life, including the effects on their family. The problem gambler gets the same effect from gambling as someone might get from taking alcohol or tranquillising drugs, even though no substance is ingested. Here, gambling alters mood and the problem gambler keeps repeating the behavior trying to get that same effect. In the same way that tolerance develops to drugs or alcohol, gamblers find they need to experience more and more gambling to achieve the same ‘hit’ or emotional highs as before, increasing gambling cravings. The ability to resist a ‘bet’ continues to lessen, as cravings grow more intense and frequent.

Reasons for gambling can include: a coping strategy for stress, unhappy relationships or escape from looking at how to solve their problems; a means of escaping bad feelings (anxiety, loneliness, depression, sadness and grief); relief from boredom; to feel accepted in a group.

There’s much evidence suggesting that children of problem gambler parent(s) have a higher risk of using alcohol, drugs or gambling at an earlier age than other children. Immediate problems for these children result from experiencing financial hardship i.e. a lack of money for items such as clothing, food, family-outings, activities such as school excursions. With a problem gambler parent, who is away from home gambling for long periods, the child may feel this as a loss of: a parent, security and trust. This can result in the child withdrawing from having/making friends at school, decreased confidence, shame or guilt feelings around their parent’s gambling and avoiding other school children coming to their home.

A problem gambler, as with any adult with a behavioural issue, is the one who will decide if they want help to change their behaviour. Regardless of how long the problem gambler has been gambling for, and what’s been tried before to resolve the issue, the problem gambler MUST intend and so make the decision to change, in order for hypnotherapy to be successful.

At Hypnosis and Health, we work with not only the problem gambler, but those family members who have been mentally and emotionally affected by the gambling habit. Hypnotherapy is recognised as one of the most powerful (if not the most powerful tool) available for breaking habits – our job is to work with the gambler’s mindset (thoughts and feelings) and build on their motivation for change for a permanent resolution.

If in-person sessions are not possible, contact us for a free phone assessment to determine client suitability for working face-to-face or online.