Advice and Support for Gambling Addiction
Gambling addiction is a real problem in Scotland, affecting over 200,000 people. Although lockdown prevented everyone from gambling at a bookies, the use of online gambling soared making it easier for people to gamble their money on everything from slot machines to horses. Those with a gambling addiction have little or no control over their urge to gamble, even if doing so hurts themselves or those around them.
Here at East Dunbartonshire Citizens Advice Bureau, we offer local advice to assist people who are addicted to gambling in getting the support they need. If you, or someone you know has a gambling addiction, we are here to help.
Gambling and addiction
Gambling is a growing problem in the UK, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Gambling activities are vast these days; from betting in the traditional sense on sports, matches and races to playing the lottery or scratch cards – all of which are accessible at corner shop tills and even through apps on mobile phones.
Online gambling slots and games are more accessible than ever. Here, vast sums of money can be lost in the blink of an eye. Latest figures show that online gambling makes up 40% of the market, yielding £5.7 billion. Such activities are lucrative for the gambling industry, but can be devastating for the individual involved. Gambling addiction can cause many issues affecting all aspects of life, including low self-esteem, depression and even substance abuse. So, if you think that you or someone you know has perhaps become addicted to gambling, here are some of the signs to look out for.
5 signs of gambling addiction
1. Obsession – You can’t stop thinking about gambling and find yourself unable to stop.
2. Mood – Gambling seems to be the only thing that makes you happy. When you are not gambling, you feel anxious or irritable.
3. Finances – Funding your gambling has got you into debt. You gamble more than you can afford to lose and may attempt to recover your losses through further gambling. You might have borrowed or stolen money.
4. Relationships – Gambling is affecting your relationships with family and friends.
5. Denial – You don’t want to admit you have a gambling problem and therefore lie about your habits or hide them from others.
How to get help
If you recognise any of the signs above and want to get help, your local Citizens Advice Bureau can assist. Residents of East Dunbartonshire can contact us here. We can put you in touch with local organisations such as Addiction Recovery Centre Kirkintilloch and Group Recovery Aftercare Community Enterprise. Along with national services such as the National Gambling Treatment Service and Gamblers Anonymous Scotland. We can also show you how to self-exclude yourself from gambling providers. And we can help you with any financial issues and debt problems too. Our advisers are friendly and impartial, and all advice is free. So please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can also call the National Gambling Helpline free on 0808 8020 133 at any time, day or night.
Helping someone with a gambling problem
Denial can often be the biggest problem in trying to help someone with a gambling addiction. They need to be able to recognise the problem themselves and want help. So if you know someone with a gambling problem, speak to them first, if you feel you can. It may be difficult to approach the subject if the person is in denial. But if you can talk to them calmly and be supportive, you might be able to help them to open up, acknowledge they have a problem and begin to seek help.
Make sure you are taking care of yourself too. Gambling addiction can affect everyone involved, including friends and family, and you may also need support. There is more information on helping someone who gambles here on the Be Gamble Aware website, including how to talk to them, financial steps you can take and where to get support. You can call the National Gambling Helpline free on 0808 8020 133 at any time for help and advice for yourself or helping someone else.
Let us help you
If you have a gambling problem, we can help. Our non-judgmental advisors can help you get your life back on track. Take a look through our website and our health and wellbeing advice to understand what support is available to you. And remember if your gambling problems started with issues at work, we offer employment advice too which is more than just how to find a job as it also covers unfair dismissals and how to start your own business. For advice on gambling addiction, offered for free by experts, book a local appointment at the East Dunbartonshire Citizens Advice Bureau. We’re here for you.Contact us