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Problem Gambling

Problem gambling incorporates the entire spectrum from gambling that is beginning to feel ‘out of control’ and problematic  to Pathological gambling which refers to more severe gambling problems that are causing significant distress and disruption to the life of the gambler.

Problem gambling is a growing problem which is typically hidden in nature. Unlike substance abuse, drug addiction and food addiction Problem Gambling does not come with any detectable physical signs and can hence easily remain a hidden problem for many years.

Problem gamblers engage in gambling for a variety of reasons. In addition to the joy that may be experienced when gambling (and winning) other reasons include the escape from negative feelings and mood states, the buzz from taking risks and temporarily ‘numbing out’ problems.

Some of the symptoms of problem gambling include:

Increased loss of control over gambling

The need to gamble with larger amounts

Chasing losses

Emotional problems such as depression, stress, anxiety

Increased lying and concealing of gambling activity

Increased preoccupation with gambling

Research into the area of problem gambling have lead to the identication of 3 main types of gamblers:

  • The Behaviourally conditioned gambler
  • The Emotionally Vulnerable gambler
  • The Antisocial impulsivist gambler

From A Blaszczynski (2002) Pathways model of pathological gambling This model integrates the complex array of biological, personality, developmental, cognitive, learning theory and ecological determinants of problem and pathological gambling.

The treatment for the various types of gamblers vary somewhat, hence treatment will be tailored to fit with your needs.  We can also offer couples/family sessions for affected partners, family members and loved ones.  It is very important both for the problem gambler and for the affected others to benefit from useful information and support whilst going through recovery from gambling.

Since problem gamblers notoriously believe they will be able to gamble their way out of problems (i.e., one day win back the money that have been lost as a result of gambling ) the gambling often end up seriously disordered and becomes the source of immense distress and feeling of desperations- not just for the gambler but also for families and loved ones.

Being addicted to problem gambling often means that money is restricted.  If you are unable to pay for private therapy with us please note that the CNWL National Problem Gambling clinic (NHS clinic) in Soho offers treatment for Pathological gambling free of charge.

If you prefer to be seen privately and you wish to book an appointment with Annika please use our contact form here. Appointments are bookable for Harley street near Oxford circus or at Nightingale hospital in Marylebone.

If you would like to check if you might have a gambling problem please click here to find the South Oaks Gambling screening tool.