Some of us are big risk takers – others are more cautious and only bet on a sure thing. For some people, a chance to win big at the casino, or the lottery, or on the outcome of a sports event is an opportunity too good to pass up. Legal gambling can be an entertaining pursuit and there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun, as long as it’s in your budget. It becomes a problem when it starts to affect your finances, relationships, job, and mental health.
Symptoms & signs of problem gambling
- Spending more than you plan (inability to stick to a predetermined budget)
- Spending money you don’t have (borrowing so you can gamble or pay bills, buy food, etc.)
- Believing that if you spend more you’ll win and make your money back
- Feelings of regret and/or shame after gambling
- Believing that if you just keep trying, you’ll get that lucky break
- Hiding or lying about gambling
- Taking out credit cards (or other kinds of loans) because of your gambling
- No longer having fun when you gamble – just relief if you happen to win
- People in your life have expressed concern about your gambling
- The inability to control your impulse to gamble – to stop and walk away from a table, machine, or not buy another ticket
When is it time to get help?
If you are experiencing the above symptoms and you’re experiencing financial strain, your gambling is affecting your relationships in a negative way, and you would like to stop but can’t, or you don’t feel it’s a problem but others in your life tell you it is, then you may have a gambling problem and it’s time to seek help.
Treatment methods for problem gambling
Treating problem gambling can look different for different people. For example, if gambling is a coping mechanism for, say, depression or anxiety, then those need to be looked and treated. Your therapist will talk with you about your unique individual circumstances. In general, there are several therapies that have been effective in helping clients to overcome their problem gambling such as:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves.
- Emotionally Focused Therapy is based on observations and experience. It looks at emotions and emotional intelligence, which helps support stronger and more secure relationships by helping better understand how our actions impact others, and how our emotions drive our interaction.
- Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy can allow clients to travel deeper into the unconscious or subconscious to look at and work with issues and ideas perhaps inaccessible otherwise. It’s like guided daydreaming: a form of relaxed concentration.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
We can work with you to get to the root of what’s causing your gambling compulsion. With your therapist, you will get to the root of the problem and you can learn to overcome your unhealthy and destructive need to gamble. You can gain control of your life again – you don’t have to feel like this and you don’t have to do it alone.
We have therapists who have experience in this area and can provide counselling in-person, through online video counselling or even by telephone – whatever you prefer! Contact us today.