The effects of problem gambling on your life can be very serious from a financial point of view.
However, the impacts of problem gambling should not be viewed in purely financial terms. Once gambling becomes a problem the negative impacts on your life can cost you more than money.
The isolation of the problem gambler
Many gamblers report that they get a sense of 'community' from the environment they gamble in - for example the betting shop, or people they talk to online. Problem gamblers can lose interest in maintaining real personal relationships as their preoccupation with gambling intensifies and they can suffer from social isolation. Ordinary life sometimes doesn't hold the same appeal as the gambling 'high'.
Arguments, strained relationships, failure to meet responsibilities, alienation, separation, divorce, physical or mental abuse can all be a feature of the life of a problem gambler.
Often a problem gambler can isolate themselves due to feeling guilt or shame, or because they have borrowed or stolen money from people in their life to fund their gambling. It can feel as though there is no way back into the real world.
There can also be a declining interest in hobbies as gambling can dominate thinking. Problem gamblers often say that they are still thinking about gambling, even when they are not actually gambling. Some have even referred to dreaming about gambling in their sleep, such is their pre-occupation with the next bet.
Problem gamblers also report issues maintaining their working life or career, due to mental preoccupation with the gambling world.
Help is at hand
GamCare have a range of services designed to help someone step out of isolation and start to get back to the real world. Have a look at our FrontLine Services pages to read more about these, or take a look at our community forum and chatrooms.
When problem gamblers enter recovery by seeing a GamCare Counsellor or attending GA meetings, there can be an emergence of the end of isolation, and a realisation that there is more to life than the next bet.
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