When Gambling Stops Being Fun By Liz Carter

When Gambling Stops Being Fun…

We contacted Liz when we heard about a book that she had published aimed at helping people who have become addicted to gambling and those of you who either work in the business or have been directly touched by that addiction know that it is no fun at all. Some may say that this site is all related to gambling and YES it is, but it is all about responsible gaming and I have stated before its all about life choices and on reflection there is people out there who genuinely need a little extra help. So a big thank you to Liz for allowing her to publish her article. If anyone would like to purchase her book there is a link at the bottom with a discount code.

Liz Karter
Liz Karter

Gambling addiction is probably the most misunderstood of all addictions. My book, ‘Women and Problem Gambling’ was written form the findings of my work with gambling addiction since 2001 and was written in plain English to attempt to explain the complex and complicated problem. We can so easily get stuck at thinking only about the money involved, but the fact is that for anyone who gambles addictively it is about so much more than just money.  Gambling costs money and of course obsession with money, vast debts and loss chasing are devastating consequences of gambling addiction for both men or women, but what causes gambling to become addictive? It is not the desire to win money, or just not understanding the real odds of winning. The cause of gambling addiction lies in getting addicted to the feelings that are experienced when gambling. For some that might be the ‘buzz’ or the ‘high’ from certain forms of gambling such as placing a bet on a horse race, or playing at a casino table. Or maybe from becoming completely absorbed in a form of gambling such as slot machine playing, or gambling online on a computer, a smart phone or a tablet.

Traditional slot machines or gambling online are the forms of gambling which are the problems for the increasing numbers women who develop addiction to gambling. They talk to me of how when they are focussed on the slot machine, or the computer screen, they shut out all thoughts and feelings that might be bothering them.

“It’s like another world, a fantasy world, it’s hard to describe… but it’s like you can’t come back to this world again”

gambling at a slot reversedMany women who become addicted to gambling are using gambling as ‘self medication’ attempt to cope with depression, stress and anxiety. These may be caused by the loneliness and isolation of bringing up children alone, or having a demanding job and no time to see friends or family to get support by talking feelings through.

“I can see as much as I hate it now my gambling got me through. I didn’t have anyone else, just me and the kids, it was the only thing I had for me…at the time gambling saved me, or I might not be here now”

Sadly, many women I meet with are using gambling to block out thoughts and feeling about abuse they suffered in childhood or domestic violence. At first the focus on gambling helps her to feel better, but spending unaffordable amounts of money and time gambling creates a second set of problems. It is then she feels she is in an inescapable trap; if she stops gambling she has to give up any hope that she will win herself out of her miserable financial situation her addiction to gambling has now created and without escaping into gambling she will have to face the original set of problems she was hiding from with the additional mess made by her addiction.

So, how would any of us know if we are at risk of gambling become a problem or an addiction? Here are some questions to ask ourselves:

  • Do I gamble as a way of avoiding thoughts and feelings I do not like?
  • If I lose money gambling, is it difficult for me to walk away and accept the loss?
  • Do I hide my gambling from friends and family?
  • Is my gambling taking money and time away from other commitments?
  • Would I borrow or sell things I own to gamble?
  • Does my gambling ever cause arguments with my partner, friends and family?
  • If I cannot gamble when I want to, does it make me feel irritable and restless?
  • Do you tell yourself you will stop gambling – maybe even close accounts- but always go back to gamble because you crave it?

If you have said yes to any of the above, maybe your gambling is not always for fun anymore. Maybe that is because there are areas in life which may not be feeling too good either. It might be time to think about how you are using gambling and how you could make adjustments in life that might help. Remember however impossible it might seem to you at the time that you can come through addiction to gambling, everyone who ever stopped gambling at some point felt the way you do now. There always every realistic hope of change.

The Book can be found at liz karter compressed

The code is WPGCUK and is valid until 28/02/2014.

It will work on www.routledgementalhealth.com. Direct book link http://www.routledgementalhealth.com/books/details/9780415686372/

[panel]Liz KarterLiz Karter is an author, specialist in gambling addiction and women and has worked in this area since 2001.

In January 2010 having worked with all leading UK problem gambling treatment agencies, and having successfully established the first UK groups for women with gambling addiction, Liz launched Level Ground. A private treatment service in the City of London, Level Ground provides treatment for both men and women with addiction problems and specialises in meeting the individual needs of women with gambling addiction.

Throughout her career Liz has been regularly consulted by the media regarding her specialisation in gambling addiction and women and has made frequent national TV and radio broadcasts including This Morning, Radio 4 You and Yours and Women’s Hour and given numerous national newspaper and magazine interviews. Liz’s Blog


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