First steps to treating gambling addictions

Addictions come in all shapes and forms, some being gentle and others far crueller. Some of the most common addictions are substance abuse in the form of alcohol and drug addiction. Another form of compulsive behaviour, and one that can cause financial devastation, is gambling. Here we look into ways into treating gambling addictions.

Be brave and face up to the facts

Like many addictions, on the outside compulsive gambling is not always visible to friends and family. However, you will be amazed that what starts out as a simple flutter at the betting shop can soon turn into a fully blown addiction. Those suffering from compulsive betting habits are often unaware of their limits and lack the ability to know when to stop. All that is on a serious gamblers mind is that they must get their hands on money in order to have the ability to play or lay a bet. Yet, it is not always the money that interests these people but the enjoyment of playing and the adrenalin rush experienced when awaiting results.

Own up to your addiction

Like people suffering from addictions, the hardest thing for compulsive gamblers to do is own up to their illness. For this reason, it is important that such individuals have the support of their close friends and families who can guide them into treating their addictions before they escalate.

Hidden illness

Gambling is commonly known as a “hidden illness” as the individuals do not suffer from the effects of drugs or alcohol. Consequently, taking the decision to admit the problem is a huge step in combating the problem.


Once everything is out in the open it is fundamental to make an appointment with a counsellor specialising in treating addictions. The counsellor can then assess the individual and create a personalised plan geared towards positive thinking and a life without gambling.

Be patient, it takes time

A gamblers mindset is unlikely to change overnight, therefore it is extremely important that they go into a counselling program 100% and fulfil each and every step. Things will be tough to begin with but in time the patient will learn to focus their attentions on more fruitful activities.

Family support and seeking help

Gambling addiction is deeply rooted in the behavioural habits of each person, therefore the support of family and friends will have a huge impact on the recovery process. Continuous encouragement will go a long way in giving the individual the confidence to overcome their addiction.

For more information on responsible gambling and treating addictions visit Nhs.co.uk/live well/addiction.

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