Recognising a Gambling Addiction
Gambling addiction is a common problem, and it can be very difficult to manage for the addict as gambling, in one form or another, is so prevalent in our culture.
One of the first challenges with addiction is learning to recognise its signs and accepting that there is a problem. For many denial of their behaviour or the outcome of their actions is a key factor in the addiction, and as part of that denial they will arrive at a rationale that allows them to make excuses for their behaviour and avoid facing the issue of being addicted.
At Addiction Specialist London we work with individuals experiencing all types of addiction, including substances such as alcohol or drugs, as well as to specific types of behaviours such as gambling or sex.
The Meaning of Addiction
It is important to realise that gambling is a true addiction, and not just the lack of willpower in stopping a particular behaviour. Studies of brain activity have found that specific behaviours, including gambling, trigger the same activity centres in the brain as the use of drugs or alcohol. By stimulating these areas of the brain gambling creates a pleasurable, euphoric feeling, identical to drug use or other addictive behaviours.
The random nature of the win is another factor in gambling being a behaviour with a high risk of addiction. When anyone wins a gamble there is an initial flood of excitement, euphoria, and confidence, triggered by the release of positive chemicals in the brain. Then with the next gambling experience there may be a loss, which triggers the desire to find that feel-good experience again. The pattern is repeated, with gamblers often continuing to gamble well beyond their financial means in trying to recapture that feeling of euphoria.
Like any addiction, gambling has extremely negative consequences. It is not uncommon for gamblers to lose their careers, their families, their homes and all their possessions - and to continue engaging in the behaviour.
Gamblers, like other addicts, understand that their behaviour is negative and destructive. However, the craving for the release of positive chemicals in the brain and denial around the extent of their addiction helps them to block out reality and avoid the need to seek help.
At Addiction Specialist London our counsellors and psychotherapists have extensive experience working with men and women with gambling addictions. In our safe, private and confidential setting we are able to work one-on-one with our clients to address the underlying issues of their addiction.
Taking a holistic, integrated approach to treatment, we design the ideal treatment plan to work with each of our clients; for most there are underlying and unresolved issues that may be triggering or driving the addictive behaviour, and in a therapeutic setting they can develop an understanding of their addiction and explore, resolve and treat those underlying issues. Working closely with our professionals, they also develop personalised, effective coping strategies to help them become free from gambling.
Contact us to find out more, or to speak to one of our trained experts for help with recovery from gambling addiction.