Gambling is a fun pastime that has entertained people for thousands of years. In the UK, gambling has been hugely popular, and, in particular, bingo has become a firm favourite since it was first introduced. Over the past century, there has been a massive rise in the number of people playing bingo, and now if you cannot make it to a bingo hall, there is always the option to play online bingo. For the most part, players can enjoy a bingo game for fun and stay within their pre-set budget; however, gambling can become an issue for some players. Suppose you find that you are struggling to control your gambling, affecting your personal relationships and finances. In that case, you may need to recognise that you are suffering from a gambling addiction.
Carry on reading to find out more information about gambling addictions and the many fantastic organisations in the UK that can help you overcome this problem.
What is a Gambling Addiction?
Gambling addictions are classed as a mental health condition and can be treated as such. This is often known as an impulse control disorder as players cannot halt their gambling, no matter what the effect is on their personal relationships and finances. Like any form of addiction, there are varying degrees of how serious it is. Still, even if you think it is not that severe, it is always best to try and resolve problem gambling behaviour as quickly and as early as possible.
Symptoms of a Gambling Addiction
When playing bingo, if you think you suffer from any of the following symptoms, then you may have a problem that you need to seek help to deal with:
- Chasing losses
- Chasing the thrill by always betting more
- Playing bingo when you are not in a good mental state, such as being depressed or stressed
- Always having bingo and gambling on your mind
- Having an uncontrollable urge to play bingo
- Becoming irritated when you cannot gamble
- Asking others for money to play bingo
- Being in a constant stop and start cycle of gambling
- Lying to loved ones about your time spent gambling and your financial situation
- Putting gambling above your personal relationships and finances
Compulsive gamblers and other types of addicts are very good at hiding when they have a problem. These are only some of the symptoms to watch out for, and there may be others. Always get in touch with a professional such as a therapist or psychiatrist, as they will advise and help you treat any issues you are having when playing bingo online or in person. They will also be able to help determine whether your gambling addiction is from a place of suffering from a mental illness or if there is another hidden factor that is causing you to gamble recklessly.
The Benefits of Stopping Problem Gambling
There are many benefits to stopping problem gambling, and if you find you have a problem with bingo games, this could be some of the advantages to quitting:
- Better finances – one of the most significant impacts of gambling on players is the negative effect on their finances. Gambling money that you do not have and have not budgeted for can lead to serious financial problems such as bankruptcy, loss of your home, poverty and other legal issues. Instead of spending all your money on bingo, you can instead budget and place money in other areas of your life to improve it
- Enhanced relationships – problem gambling can often lead to a deterioration in personal relationships, whether family, partner, or friends. When finances are hit and a problem gambler is hiding their problem through lying, it can drive away those relationships. Taking control of your gambling problem allows you to keep loved ones in your life and makes those connections stronger
- Improved mental health – problem gambling can greatly impact a person’s mental health as it can trigger stress and depression. This usually is not just from the act of playing bingo itself but from the fallout of destroying your finances and hurting personal relationships. Taking care of a gambling problem will add calmer to your life and help you get your mental health back on track
If you have a gambling problem and want to experience these benefits of stopping, take the first step today by reaching out for help to a professional or gambling addiction organisation.
Forms of Compulsive Gambling in Bingo
There are three forms of gambling that affect people most frequently:
- Binge gambling – If you feel you are in control of your gambling most of the time but have periods where this is not the case, you may be suffering from binge gambling. This can also apply to those who do not play bingo for a period of weeks or months, but as soon as they start again, problematic symptoms begin to show
- Problem gambling – when your bingo playing is not entirely under control, this is known as problem gambling. It can have a detrimental effect on your daily life as you continue to try and chase losses, but it is not as severe as being a compulsive gambler
- Compulsive gambling – if you are playing bingo and do not care whether you win or lose, you suffer from compulsive gambling. This is usually a personality trait and will affect your life in more ways than just gambling. Continually looking for new ways to gamble and not caring about a budget is a sure sign of compulsive gambling
Even if you feel that your gambling is mostly under control and your issues are not that serious, it is still vital to get help as quickly as possible to ensure it does not turn into a more serious issue.
How Can I Get Help for a Gambling Addiction
Now that you have accepted you have a problem with gambling; you can reach out and get help from qualified professionals and organisations. Different ways in which you can get help, or help yourself, for gambling addiction include:
- Stopping to consider how you will feel after if you decide to go ahead and gamble
- Try to find other distractions from gambling such as hobbies and socialising with friends
- Use the tools provided at online bingo sites to stop yourself gambling such as self-exclusion, deposit limits and time-outs
- Talk to a family member or close friend about your gambling addiction
Of course, it is often not enough to simply use the above methods to try and stop problem gambling. In these cases, it is best to reach out and get professional help.
Different Methods to Stop Problem Gambling
There are many different ways in which you can stop a bingo gambling problem. It may take a trial and error approach with these other methods to determine which method will help you to improve the most:
Gambling Addiction Charities and Organisations
There are lots of fantastic charities and organisations that can help those suffering from problem gambling in the UK. This is often combined with other methods, such as therapy, and it allows addicts to talk with other people in a similar situation to them and suffering from the same addictions. This is also a great stepping stone if you are not yet ready to talk to a professional. You can head on over to GamCare to find a wide range of information on gambling addiction, different supportive organisations and counsellors.
Therapy and Counselling
One of the most popular and successful ways to treat problem gambling is through therapy and counselling. As we previously mentioned, it is also very effective when combined with gambling addiction organisations. When you seek therapy and counselling, it can be daunting when you do not know what to expect. In most cases, the treatment offered will be psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is fantastic as it can help resolve the root cause and underlying issues that trigger problem gambling. It can also massively help with mental health issues to ensure problem gamblers can deal with their addiction in the long term and do not fall back into old habits.
At the moment, there is no medical treatment designed explicitly for addicts. However, some forms of medication can be used to help reduce the urge of an addict to gamble and play bingo. This could be in the form of anti-seizure medication or anti-depressants.
Support and Resources for Gambling Addicts
If you feel that your bingo playing is no longer fun and has gotten out of control, now is the time to seek help. There are lots of fantastic resources online and support groups that can help you take the first step in this journey. If you are located in the UK, the NHS has many resources for you to look at and is the best place to visit first. Other great sources of information and support groups include:
- Gamblers Anonymous UK – this organisation holds local support groups to support family and friends of problem gamblers. In these meetings, the 12 step programme is used, which many people will recognise from Alcoholics Anonymous
- GamCare – this charity is funded by the gambling industry and provides addicts with counselling and advice. Their helpline number is 0808 8020 133
- Gordon Moody Association – this charity focuses on helping addicts rebuild their lives from gambling addiction through residential courses. Call 01384 241 292 or email [email protected] to get in touch
- The National Centre for Behavioural Addictions – You can find both the National Problem Gambling Clinic and the National Centre for Gaming Disorders at this centre. Those aged 16 or over can be referred to this clinic for help with complex problems relating to gambling
If you are ready to overcome your gambling problem, do not wait any longer. Get in touch with one of these brilliant organisations or visit the NHS website for more information on what service will be exemplary for you.