28 Nov 2022

In a recent article written by The Times, there is a big rise in gambling addictions putting suicidal young men in hospital.

It has been reported that there has been a 42% annual rise in demand for NHS gambling clinics. 599 patients have been referred to the service. Many of those who attend clinics have been offered addiction therapy, including medications which have been known to reduce cravings for opioid users. One in three have attempted suicide. More than 400 gambling related suicides a year in England.

With such shocking statistics which continue to increase it is important to understand the help which is available and what more can be done to help those who may be struggling.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s mental health director said: “firms engaging in activities that fuel addiction should think hard about the human cost that can be behind their profits.”

Gambling addiction doesn’t just affect the individual struggling. It can have a knock-on effect to family and friends and create bigger issues.

Director of Rehabs UK, Lester Morse recollects how his father’s gambling affected him and his family. This is his experience first-hand:

“As a child who grew up with a father who was a gambler, and in a way, I feel lucky after the horrific stories I have heard about gamblers, that he had some semblance of control, so for me on the material level the only harm I can recall is hours and hours sitting outside betting shops waiting for him to return, even on holidays.

I also remember apart from the small pencils and betting slips everywhere we were often very short of money even though he worked hard for seven days a week. He and my mother would argue a lot over money. This would make me very anxious. She said he would never tell her how much he gambled, and she only knew when he had a win because he would always come home drunk and was very generous, our food was mostly budget and our toys were cheap.

I think I have learned over the years that the biggest problem was how emotionally unavailable he was. I believe this is a common problem with people with addiction, because they are so detached emotionally, they don’t understand the massive harm this does to children and loved ones, you just don’t feel loved or important!

My mother and father separated when I was 10 my mother left him, I become an alcoholic & drug addict, both my sisters struggled with anger issues and other emotional problems, none of us have children of our own! Even today he is in denial, if I asked my dad about his gambling, (he gave up gambling about 15 years ago and started to go to church he’s 86) he would say it didn’t do any harm and that he mostly won! Like I say, I think in many ways I was one of the lucky ones, we did get fed, a bed and a roof over our head, some nice memories and good times.

In my 30-year career working with addiction, I feel it’s always important for me to point out that when there’s addiction in the family, whatever kind of addiction, the person who is struggling with addiction is probably unaware how much damage and harm they are causing the people around them, especially the children and loved ones who depend on them!”

Gambling will continue to exist despite how it can affect some individuals. It is vital to address and get the correct help if it becomes an addiction. Rehabs UK offers a range of treatment options which can get individuals on the way to recovery. Like other addictions, there are many different types of treatment and therapy including one-to-one, group and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as well as many others.

If you are worried about yourself or a loved one do not hesitate to contact our professional and friendly Treatment Advisors who can answer any questions you may have.