I Think I Have A Gambling Problem Uk

Gambling is often described as ‘the hidden addiction’. Unlike substance misuse or sex addiction, it can be much easier to hide the signs of problem gambling from other people. This is particularly true now online gambling is so widely accessible and popular.

But the effects of gambling addiction on a relationship can be devastating. It can destroy the sense of trust between partners often as a consequence of the secrecy or lies surrounding the addiction as much as the addiction itself. It can also ruin families financially.

It’s estimated there are around 450,000 problems gamblers in the UK. And anecdotal evidence suggests that every problem gambler impacts 5 to 12 other people.

What are the signs your partner is a gambler?

Completely free of charge and fully supportive in their approach, without ever judging you, the likes of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, GambleAware, Gamcare, or the National Problem Gambling Clinic could be a great starting point where you will find valuable advice and help to deal with your problem.

  1. Fortunately, there’s tonnes of information online about identifying a problem gambler and there is help for them. Have a read of our author Louise Petty’s article on 10 ways to help someone with a gambling problem. If you ever suspect someone might have a gambling addiction, do seek advice and support. Any addiction can be overcome.
  2. Problem gambling “Problem” gambling will look different for each person. A useful way to look at it is if someone carries on gambling even though it is having a negative impact in their life. Check out our information below to find out more about what problem gambling looks like.
  3. If you feel that you have lost control of your gambling, there are some things you can do to help yourself. Admitting you have a problem is the first and most important step. Find someone you can trust to talk to about your problem. It could be a friend, a relative or a specialist advisor.
  4. Make a list about how your gambling problem has affected your life in a negative way. Write as much as you can. Make the list on the left side of a sheet of paper so you have room on the right side. On the right side, write about how your life will change for the better when you stop gambling.

Many people whose partners have gambling addictions often report initially thinking their partner was having an affair as the signs are so similar. They include:

  • Spending lots of time away. Do they often spend a lot of time away from the house and are vague about why? Some problem gamblers also get up very early in order to play before their partner or family are awake.
  • Secretive around finances. Does your partner become cagey or defensive on the topic of money? Have they taken steps to conceal bank statements?
  • Money going out of account without explanation. Obviously, it’s not always possible to hide it if you are spending large amounts of cash. Have you noticed unexplained deductions from your accounts?
  • Secretive around internet use. Most gambling addictions are carried out online. Does your partner habitually delete their internet history or are they vague and evasive if questioned on their use of the internet?
  • Emotional highs and lows. Do they seem extremely excitable and positive some times but then very low, upset or even angry with others?
  • A change in behavior over time. You may feel like your partner’s behavior has changed gradually — getting more and more difficult or secretive in increments. This is usually how addictions begin: with things starting off more subtly, before spinning further out of control.

How does gambling affect relationships?

On a number of levels:

  • The emotional impact. Very often, the partner of someone with a gambling addiction will feel betrayed upon finding out. There can often be a sense of feeling like they ‘aren’t enough’ to keep their partner happy. They might feel ashamed or even just simply hurt.
  • Trust. This is one of the biggest factors. Most addictions involve some form of lying or concealment at one point. Many partners struggle to understand how their partner could have kept this from them, especially if it’s been going on for a long time. Trust can take a long time to rebuild after the revelation of an addiction like this.
  • Financial. On a practical level, gambling addiction can decimate joint or family finances. It’s not uncommon for a problem gambler to dive into savings or take out multiple credit cards. This can leave the family with no other money for their basic needs, including household bills or mortgage payments. It also often means that peripheral things, such as holidays or new clothes for children, become unaffordable.
  • Time. Something often forgotten about addictions is just how much time they take up. Gambling addiction can mean a person is away from their partner or family for long stretches of it — weakening their connection and making it that much harder to recover from the damage done.

What can you do?

The first thing to do if you think your partner is a problem gambler is to seek help.

GamCare has a helpline (0808 8020 133) that’s open seven days a week. They can provide you with advice on what your next steps could be. They can also help you think about whether your partner has a problem — you don’t need to be certain to give them a call. Their trained advisors can give both information and in the moment emotional support to help you feel calmer.

They’ve also got an equivalent online service called Netline, which allows you to exchange instant messages with an advisor, and online forums, where people who’ve been affected by problem gambling talk and support each other.

How we can help

If your relationship has been affected by your partner’s gambling, then we’d strongly recommend coming in for face-to-face counselling.

There may be a fair amount to unpack following something like this. This is not only in terms of the damage it may have done to your relationship or family, but in understanding and coming to terms with the circumstances that lead to the addiction in the first place. Often it takes going back to before the addiction even started to begin to understand why it happened.

I Think I Have A Gambling Problem Ukulele

Many partners blame themselves for the addiction – believing that if they’d been a better husband or wife, this never would have happened but things are rarely as simple as that. Sometimes figuring things out and getting them in perspective can be much easier if you’ve got a little help.

Gambling is often described as ‘the hidden addiction’. Unlike substance misuse or sex addiction, it can be much easier to hide the signs of problem gambling from other people. This is particularly true now online gambling is so widely accessible and popular.

But the effects of gambling addiction on a relationship can be devastating. It can destroy the sense of trust between partners often as a consequence of the secrecy or lies surrounding the addiction as much as the addiction itself. It can also ruin families financially.

It’s estimated there are around 450,000 problems gamblers in the UK. And anecdotal evidence suggests that every problem gambler impacts 5 to 12 other people.

What are the signs your partner is a gambler?

Many people whose partners have gambling addictions often report initially thinking their partner was having an affair as the signs are so similar. They include:

  • Spending lots of time away. Do they often spend a lot of time away from the house and are vague about why? Some problem gamblers also get up very early in order to play before their partner or family are awake.
  • Secretive around finances. Does your partner become cagey or defensive on the topic of money? Have they taken steps to conceal bank statements?
  • Money going out of account without explanation. Obviously, it’s not always possible to hide it if you are spending large amounts of cash. Have you noticed unexplained deductions from your accounts?
  • Secretive around internet use. Most gambling addictions are carried out online. Does your partner habitually delete their internet history or are they vague and evasive if questioned on their use of the internet?
  • Emotional highs and lows. Do they seem extremely excitable and positive some times but then very low, upset or even angry with others?
  • A change in behavior over time. You may feel like your partner’s behavior has changed gradually — getting more and more difficult or secretive in increments. This is usually how addictions begin: with things starting off more subtly, before spinning further out of control.

How does gambling affect relationships?

I Think I Have A Gambling Problem Ukraine

On a number of levels:

  • The emotional impact. Very often, the partner of someone with a gambling addiction will feel betrayed upon finding out. There can often be a sense of feeling like they ‘aren’t enough’ to keep their partner happy. They might feel ashamed or even just simply hurt.
  • Trust. This is one of the biggest factors. Most addictions involve some form of lying or concealment at one point. Many partners struggle to understand how their partner could have kept this from them, especially if it’s been going on for a long time. Trust can take a long time to rebuild after the revelation of an addiction like this.
  • Financial. On a practical level, gambling addiction can decimate joint or family finances. It’s not uncommon for a problem gambler to dive into savings or take out multiple credit cards. This can leave the family with no other money for their basic needs, including household bills or mortgage payments. It also often means that peripheral things, such as holidays or new clothes for children, become unaffordable.
  • Time. Something often forgotten about addictions is just how much time they take up. Gambling addiction can mean a person is away from their partner or family for long stretches of it — weakening their connection and making it that much harder to recover from the damage done.

What can you do?

The first thing to do if you think your partner is a problem gambler is to seek help.

GamCare has a helpline (0808 8020 133) that’s open seven days a week. They can provide you with advice on what your next steps could be. They can also help you think about whether your partner has a problem — you don’t need to be certain to give them a call. Their trained advisors can give both information and in the moment emotional support to help you feel calmer.

I Think I Have A Gambling Problem Ukulele Chords

I Think I Have A Gambling Problem Uk

They’ve also got an equivalent online service called Netline, which allows you to exchange instant messages with an advisor, and online forums, where people who’ve been affected by problem gambling talk and support each other.

How we can help

If your relationship has been affected by your partner’s gambling, then we’d strongly recommend coming in for face-to-face counselling.

There may be a fair amount to unpack following something like this. This is not only in terms of the damage it may have done to your relationship or family, but in understanding and coming to terms with the circumstances that lead to the addiction in the first place. Often it takes going back to before the addiction even started to begin to understand why it happened.

I Think I Have A Gambling Problem Uke

Many partners blame themselves for the addiction – believing that if they’d been a better husband or wife, this never would have happened but things are rarely as simple as that. Sometimes figuring things out and getting them in perspective can be much easier if you’ve got a little help.