Twin Rivers Rehab Gambling Recovery Programme
Twin Rivers recognizes that gambling addiction is a serious problem globally which is why we developed a programme specifically for gambling addiction. There are many factors that contribute to someone who gambles with no care or concern for the consequences and Twin Rivers can help you to expose what causes you to self-destruct in this way.
COVID-19 – The perfect storm for gambling addiction
Many gambling addicts have found themselves in a haze of gambling addiction. As with any other addiction, the strain of the global pandemic of COVID-19 has placed on addicts, gamblers have not been spared. Many turn to gamble to alleviate stress and anxiety. And with the added stress and anxiety, isolation, job-losses and many other fears, COVID-19 has created the ‘perfect storm’ for problem gamblers.
In South Africa, since the start of lockdown at the end of March, we have experienced bans on alcohol and cigarettes. We have been told to keep social distancing, many of us work from home, some of us have had to close down businesses, take salary cuts or have found ourselves completely without any income. Something as simple as going for a jog outside of certain times and radius’s of our homes has become an illegal activity. We are stuck inside, all of us, in isolation. Lockdown Level 3 has alleviated this a little, but we are still in lockdown!
Gambling and especially online gambling has become an activity that is easier to access and get involved with, more than ever. And without a doubt, it is easy to spend money we do not have in the hope and frenzy of winning which leads to debt and getting addicted. Keeping in mind the thousands of people who have lost their income or a part of their income during this time, gambling is set up to make you believe it is the answer to your money problems with ‘FREE’ accounts and promises of vast wealth!
Gambling Addiction Escalation
There is no doubt that there is a thrill in winning that impacts the brain in the same way as taking drugs, but when you begin to lose, especially more than you can afford the temptation to win your money back becomes even bigger. And therein lies the trap. What will you tell your family now? Now that you have lost the bit of income you had. And then, of course, there will always be ways and means to borrow more money, lose more and get sucked deeper into the downward spiral of gambling addiction, leading to not only financial loss, but the loss of loved ones and may lead to even greater consequences.
For many gambling addicts working from home has removed certain safety nets that may previously have helped them manage their gambling addiction, especially when it comes to online gambling. These may have included certain software blocking in the workplace, high demand of workload and work activities. Gambling is also stimulated by boredom and isolation at home has led to a great increase to exposure to gambling advertisements via social media, television and other. The problem, occasional gamblers can quickly become pathological gamblers with no control over their actions.
COVID-19 may have stopped all live sports and gatherings in places such as casinos. But there are many other forms of gambling available such as online casinos and virtual sports, to name but a few. Although these types of gambling may be virtual the dangers are just as real.
Debt – a risk factor to both mental and physical health
Without doubt within gambling lies a great potential to worsen current debt, and lead to more. Many people may think they are already managing great debt burdens, some which may be gambling-related! The COVID-19 pandemic has caused great economic instability exacerbating what was an already challenging situation. However, turning to gambling is not, and has never been, a safe, nor a reliable source of income. This may cause feelings of depression and anxiety as you dig yourself deeper and deeper into a financial hole of debt. Unfortunately, many gambling addicts have turned to suicide as an option!
There are many signs of gambling addiction and some of these include:
- Just as with any other form of addiction, you find that you need to gamble with increased amounts of money in order to achieve the same “high” or feeling of excitement.
- Irritability or restlessness should you be unable to gamble, or when trying to cut down on gambling.
- Unable to think about anything else but gambling.
- Planning your next opportunity to gamble.
- Finding ways and means to source money to gamble with.
- Gambling despite being aware of the negative consequences.
- Using gambling as a tool to alleviate stress, depression, anxiety or guilt.
- Chasing your losses – in other words constantly returning to gambling in the pursuit to win back what you have lost.
- Lying or concealing gambling activities.
- Jeopardising relationships.
- Lending money from others and never paying them back.
- Denial about how much money you have lost.
By gaming we lose both our time and treasure; two things most precious to the life of man.
David Briskham +27(0)828 633 159-Clinical Director
Richard Saunders +27(0)722 789 193-Head of Treatment
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process