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Many people can gamble without any impact upon their daily life. Gambling becomes a problem when it starts to impact upon a person’s daily routine and financial circumstances. Gambling related difficulties can then occur, including relationship problems, difficulty paying bills and other personal issues. A person may also experience mood swings and heightened periods of stress related to their gambling.

Indicators of a gambling problem may include obsessive thoughts about gambling, an increase in betting money when gambling, feelings of being irritable or restless when not gambling, chasing losses and gambling to escape problems. More pressing and serious indicators may also include borrowing money to gamble or pay debts, committing illegal acts to gamble and/or lying to others about gambling habits.

Current research suggests that the motivation for gambling can be related to a wide variety of factors and will depend upon individual circumstance. These include self-esteem and self-acceptance, social approval, emotional release, hope of winning, beating the odds, experiencing excitement, reducing boredom and a way of passing the time. Other factors such as personality, social support, family structure, individual biology may also play a role in gambling behaviour.


What treatments are available for gambling?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy looks to initially assess an individual’s history of problem gambling. Therapy looks to address issues such as thinking styles related to gambling, challenging unhelpful thinking, relaxation, problem solving, goal setting and relapse prevention. Other support issues include reducing risk and identifying possible emotional issues related to a person’s gambling behaviour.


Where to get help for gambling?

Should you feel unsure about your situation you can contact the confidential Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858. You can also contact Inner West Psychology or their GP to discuss your situation and support options. Send us an email or call us today on (02) 9518 1061 to make an enquiry or book an appointment with one of our experienced psychologists.

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