A gambling addiction is one that can be very difficult to spot, making it challenging for the family and friends of addicted individuals to get the correct help and support their loved one needs to deal with the issue. A gambling addiction left untreated can have a devastating effect on not only the addict but also his/her family and friends.
The buzz associated with gambling is often the trap that lures victims; once caught in this gambling trap, it can be tough to escape. It is this that then often leads to addiction.
Gambling has the propensity to become a vicious cycle of winning and then losing what has been won – and then some. More often than not, a gambling addiction can lead to criminal activity, such as theft, so that the addict can fund his/her habit. One example of how this can affect an addicted individual is dad-of-four David Shelley, who resorted to stealing and gambling away almost £80,000 of his elderly parents’ money.
How A Gambling Addiction Can Lead to Theft
David was the primary carer for his parents. However, he betrayed their trust by compelling his father to fork out for a new laptop – which his father could not use – and then proceeded to use this device to set up a host of online betting accounts and funding them with his parents’ money.
Addicted to gambling, Shelley had taken out a number of payday loans, which had landed him in serious debt. He started gambling away his parents’ money in a desperate attempt to clear these debts, but he ended up in more trouble than before. When questioned by the bank about what was happening with the funds in his parent’s account, Shelley managed to convince them that the account had been hacked.
Shelley was eventually sussed and has since been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for the crimes he has committed. He will not be able to continue gambling while behind bars, which in itself will act as the ultimate detox, hopefully breaking the devastating addiction.
The internet opens up a whole new world for gamblers. A world of sports gambling, slots, roulette and casinos where anyone who claims to be over the age of eighteen can gamble to their heart’s content. This has proven to be extremely problematic as nearly everyone nowadays has access to the internet, whether that be from a computer, smartphone, or even at the library.
All of these online sites are easily accessible and are often promoted with offers and deals, making them even more appealing to those with a gambling addiction. These websites act as a shield of sorts for addicts, as anyone can gamble from the privacy of their own home. All of these sites are accessible 24/7, basically making them an addict’s dream as they can log in at any time they please. This can make it very troublesome for friends and family members to spot an addiction in their loved one, and many times they will not actually notice until the addiction has taken a firm hold.
Signs and Symptoms of a Gambling Addiction
It takes a lot for someone to admit that they have an addiction problem, but sometimes the addict is not even aware that there is an issue. Nevertheless, there are many signs that can indicate whether you or someone you olive is suffering from a gambling addiction:
- Finding it hard to manage or stop the gambling
- Spending excessive periods of time gambling
- Constantly talking or thinking about gambling
- Using money kept aside for bills or borrowing money to fund gambling.
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, then you should speak to someone. Dealing with an addiction alone is never the right way to go about it as you can easily give in to temptation.
Overcoming a Gambling Addiction
One of the most effective treatments for beating a gambling addiction is cognitive behavioural therapy. This is a type of talking treatment that tends to focus on how thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect feelings and behaviour. And based on this, it teaches the affected individual coping mechanisms for dealing with his or her gambling problem. The aim is to free the affected person from the negative behaviours in his/her life and to have a more positive outlook on life in general.
A gambling addiction is one that can take over a person’s life quickly, without this individual even realising. It is a common misconception that gambling addicts have no willpower or are ‘weak’, but what many fail to realise is that an addiction is an illness, the same way the common cold is an illness. These people wouldn’t tell someone with the cold that they have no willpower, so why would they think it is okay to do this to an addict?
To be able to overcome any addiction, the affected person must be able to admit that he/she has a problem. This is often difficult for the addict in question as he/she may be in denial about the situation will simply not want to admit it. Nevertheless, once the problem has been recognised as such, he or she can look for the right support to help beat the addiction and get their life back on track.
Source: Gambling addict spent nearly £80,000 of his elderly parents’ money on online betting (Liverpool Echo)