Problems with gambling can harm your health and relationships, and leave you in serious debt.
If your gambling is causing problems for you or your loved ones and you'd like to stop, support and treatment is available.
Are you having problems with gambling?
Try this questionnaire:
- Do you bet more than you can afford to lose?
- Do you need to gamble with larger amounts of money to get the same feeling?
- Have you tried to win back money you have lost (chasing losses)?
- Have you borrowed money or sold anything to get money to gamble?
- Have you wondered whether you have a problem with gambling?
- Has your gambling caused you any health problems, including feelings of stress or anxiety?
- Have other people criticised your betting or told you that you had a problem with gambling (regardless of whether or not you thought it was true)?
- Has your gambling caused any financial problems for you or your household?
- Have you ever felt guilty about the way you gamble or what happens when you gamble?
Score 0 for each time you answer "never"
Score 1 for each time you answer "sometimes"
Score 2 for each time you answer "most of the time"
Score 3 for each time you answer "almost always"
If your total score is 8 or higher, your gambling might be causing problems for you or those closest to you.
Help for people who have problems with gambling
There's evidence that gambling can be successfully treated in the same way as other addictions. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) usually has the best results.
Treatment and support groups are available for people who want to stop gambling.
GamCare offers free information, support and counselling for people who have problems with gambling in the UK.
It runs the National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133) and also offers face-to-face counselling. The helpline is free and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The National Centre for Behavioural Addictions
If you live in England or Wales, are aged 13 or over and have complex problems related to gambling, you can refer yourself to the National Problem Gambling Clinic, which includes the Young Persons' Problem Gambling Clinic.
Find out more on the National Centre for Behavioural Addictions website
NHS Northern Gambling Service
The NHS Northern Gambling Service provides specialist addiction therapy in the north of England, including the north Midlands.
Find out about referrals and contacting the Northern Gambling Service
NHS Southern Gambling Service
The NHS Southern Gambling Service offers a specialist service providing treatment to people experiencing problems with gambling.
Find out more about referrals on the Southern Gambling Service website
West Midlands Gambling Harm Clinic
The West Midlands Gambling Harm Clinic provides specialist addiction therapy for people who have problems with gambling.
Find out more on the West Midlands Gambling Harm Clinic website
Gordon Moody Association
Gordon Moody offers residential courses for people who have problems with gambling.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01384 241292 to find out more.
It also runs the Gambling Therapy website, which offers online support to people who have problems with gambling and their friends and family.
Gamblers Anonymous runs local support groups that use the same 12-step approach to recovery from addiction as Alcoholics Anonymous.
There are also GamAnon support groups for friends and family.
Things you can do if gambling is causing you problems
- pay important bills, such as your mortgage, on payday before you gamble
- spend more time with family and friends who do not gamble
- deal with your debts rather than ignoring them – visit the National Debtline for tips
- do not view gambling as a way to make money – try to see it as entertainment instead
- do not bottle up your worries about your gambling – talk to someone
- do not take credit cards with you when you go gambling
The Royal College of Psychiatrists website has more advice if you're having problems with gambling
If you're affected by someone's gambling
If you're being negatively affected by another person's gambling, support is available:
- GamCare: support and information for people affected by gambling harms
- GamAnon: local support groups for anyone affected by someone else's gambling
Real stories of recovery from gambling
Tell your own story and post messages of support in the GamCare recovery diaries forum.