Gambling Addiction or Problem Gambling

Problem Gambling & Negative Consequences
We are seeing increasing numbers of people succumbing to gambling addiction or problem gambling. The normalization of gambling through video gaming for young people, and other avenues such as social media, TV and sports promotion has sadly made gambling normal, easy and accessible for many. Online betting means gambling can be secretive and detached from relational accountability, while taking everything and giving nothing back. Gambling has awful negative consequences for the gambler, their partners, children and extended family. Problem Gambling often co-presents with many other issues. For example the stress of gambling can led to a depressing spiral of heavy drinking, or substance abuse, mental health issues such as clinical depression, suicidal ideation, domestic violence, even stealing, fraud and imprisonment.

Problem Gambling Can Be Tied to Belonging
There are strong repeating themes that appear in gambling addiction. Strong evidence points to gambling being linked to story, belonging and thwarted belonging. Gambling appears to be strongly linked to identity and belonging for a young person. The early socialization with gambling for a child can mean that it has a familial link to the childs sense of story in similar ways to that of other relationally enjoyable aspects of life like camping or picnics with family and close friends. From my experience things like boredom, loneliness, or loss of a partner or loss of physical capacity gambling offers escape from pain of life through a sense of relief, escape, or a sense of power and mastery that might cover over pain.
Young adult footballers are vulnerable to problem gambling. They have enjoyed the belonging, being part of something meaningful and big. There is the adrenalin rush and connection of winning on the field. They may desire to continue that feeling and take their energy to the pub and bet at the TAB, they might have a big early win and that rush and experience is strongly validated and reinforced through the group experience. However what outwardly appears to be harmless fun for some, can be the beginning of secret and shameful everyday addiction for others.

There Is Help Available For Gambling Addiction
There can be multiple reasons for problem gambling to develop. Mark Roussel has worked with problem gamblers for several years now, and has helped many clients succeed in giving up gambling and gaining back their self-respect. Secrecy and shame often prevents a gambler from owning up to loved ones, but acknowledging the problem to others is an important first step in the change process. Accountability to a caring person is essential for someone experiencing problem gambling in their self-management and change. It is important to begin to share that you have a problem with gambling and seek help from family, friends and a caring professional.

Understand It and Get Control Over The Problem Gambling
Gambling counselling helps the client with problem gambling gain self-awareness and understand why he/she gambles and how to develop capacity to self- manage. Gambling counselling assists the client deal with unhelpful thinking patterns that sustain the beliefs about winning. It explores the history and development of the gambling problem, it engages the attendant emotions attached to gambling, explores the addictive themes, vulnerabilities, triggers and urges. Clients will be supported with homework assignments and new strategies to resist gambling behaviour.
If you believe you have a gambling problem or you have a family member who you believe needs counselling for problem gambling, please call Mark Roussel to make an appointment.