Problem Gambler Five Point Plan

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If gambling is becoming problematic and you feel you might be developing an addiction, the five steps below will start to help you overcome it.

(1) Ban yourself from all gambling venues
You can self-exclude from betting shops by signing forms and handing over passport photos. Although there is no guarantee that staff will stop letting you in, it’s certainly a step in the right direction for your recovery. Self-exclusion tends to be more stringent in casinos, so rescinding your membership is worthwhile. Do this for all adult gaming centres and bingo halls too, and make sure you self-exclude for the maximum possible term.

(2) Close all online betting and casino accounts
Closing down your accounts and self-excluding indefinitely will restrict access to gambling and, in the initial stages of your recovery, help considerably. Installing software like Gamblock goes one step further and blocks all gambling sites, preventing you opening new accounts.

(3) Book an appointment with your GP
Do this today. Rates of depression and attempted suicide among gambling addicts are around double the national average and those with gambling addiction are also more likely to go to prison for criminal activity. Your GP might prescribe you anti-depressants as you may be depressed because of the consequences of your addiction. Anti-depressants might make you feel better in the short term, but note that they will not deal with the addiction.

(4) Ask your GP to refer you to the NHS Clinic for Problem Gambling
This is a specialised, free at the point of use, clinic for gambling addiction. They offer the most innovative treatments available for gambling addiction, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). The National Problem Gambling Clinic is based in Soho, London. If you’re not London-based or cannot get there, ask your GP to refer you for local Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Unfortunately, due to the industry under-funding addiction treatment, and because the Government do not properly fund treatment through the NHS, there is often a waiting list for therapy. However, get on the waiting list as soon as possible.

(5) Find your local Gamblers Anonymous meeting
Find your local Gamblers Anonymous meeting, and attend your first session as soon as possible. It won’t cure your addiction, but you’ll be surprised at how much it helps to speak to people who are going through the same thing as you. Meeting like-minded people online can also help. The GRASP forum can be a valuable support network, so sign-up here.

Many addicts or former addicts are keen to share their stories. We think it is important that the public and the Government are made aware of the issue of gambling addiction, and how fixed odds betting terminals are inducing and exacerbating that problem. However, we also think it’s important that gambling addicts have properly recovered before going public with their stories.

Rehab 4 Addiction offers a free hotline dedicated to assisting people suffering from drug, alcohol and mental health problems. Rehab 4 Addiction was founded in 2011 by people who overcame addiction themselves. You can contact Rehab 4 Addiction on 0800 140 4690 .

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