A recent survey of one of the largest suppliers of online self-help treatments against gambling addictions has revealed the main reasons for patients seeking help. Somewhat surprisingly, partnership problems were the issue mentioned most often among people starting the therapy. Financial problems and debt were a close number two and fears of losing the job was at number three. Many gamblers who live in a relationship or in a marriage start lying to their partner. They try to hide their addiction and the dimensions of it. Usually, partners are deeply shocked when they discover the amount of debts involved with the addiction. This is often the moment when they decide to leave their partners. Gamblers hide their addiction because they are afraid of the partners’ reactions and because of feelings of guilt and shame. Confessing an addiction, obviously, is seen as a sign of weakness. When addicts look for help, it often happens after getting pressure from the partner. In many cases, the partners set an ultimatum – either a therapy or the end of the partnership. Gambling addictions also lead to a different type of problem in relationships. It’s common for the gambler to change character and become more aggressive, impatient, anxious and tired. All of these changes make it difficult to lead a harmonious partnership.
Financial problems and debt were another trigger for starting a treatment against gambling addictions. Either the gamblers have no access to money anymore and need to look for help or they recognize before that their life cannot continue like before. In many cases, gamblers lose many friends as the addiction proceeds. Often, they borrow money from friends and family and are never able to pay it back. Fears of losing their jobs were mentioned third most often as the reasons for looking for help. Gamblers change personality and often become less concentrated, less interested and more aggressive at work. In the survey, it was also mentioned that in many cases colleagues were asked for money, lunch time was used to gamble and in extreme cases online gambling was done from the computer at work, during working hours.
When addicts look for help and when they are motivated to change their lives and overcome the addiction, chances are excellent that they can break their problems. Partners and employers should be patient as relapses are common at first. However, support and understanding especially from friends and family are important for sustainable success. In good gambling addiction therapies, patients will recognize the underlying reasons for their addictions as well as the daily triggers for craving. With cognitive behavioral therapy, patients will learn how to deal differently with the urge to gamble and will set themselves new aims in life. Other parts of effective therapies include debt and money management, relaxation techniques and defining new aims in life. Relaxation techniques are important for addicts getting used to lower levels of excitement and finding relaxation through alternative sources. New aims in life need to be broken down into new, meaningful everyday activities.