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Gambling addiction (also known as ludomania) is a serious problem happening all around the world. It can affect players from all walks of life, regardless of any underlying addictive tendencies or mental health issues. On top of this, what might seem harmless one week can soon spiral out of control given the right external factors over the next few weeks, months, or even years – one of the main things is that addiction can be subtle, creeping in when it’s least expected. But, there are plenty of online resources and physical centers that help treat those suffering from gambling addiction and this is what we’ll be focusing on in today’s article.
Many of the charitable foundations, support groups, and related organizations listed below can advise on the next steps to take if you think you might have a problem. On top of this, many of the same support structures can help you if you suspect or have been told directly that someone close to you is struggling to cope with a gambling habit that has gone from being a fun pastime to something far more serious that is having very negative consequences on different areas of their life. With the help of these trained professionals, experts, and guidance counselors, you and/or a loved one can get all the support needed. Plus, the vast majority of these services are absolutely free to use at the time of need and can provide long-term help for those that need it.
So, let’s begin with the warning signs exhibited by gambling addicts. We’ll then go through a list of the different agencies covering various countries in North America, Europe, and further afield. We’ll round things off with a look at how you can help someone else…
The warning signs
On the surface, it can often be hard to spot gambling addiction in others, and we may even be in denial about it happening to ourselves. So, here’s a brief list of the most common traits shared by gambling addicts. Note that it could be one of these things or many in combination. However, studies have shown that one or more of these factors play a role when identifying addiction:
- Borrowing money, selling possessions, or stealing
- Putting gambling ahead of friends and/or family
- Showing no interest in friends, family, or hobbies
- Arguing with those around us about gambling
- Wanting a better buzz by gambling more often
- Chasing losses because of owing money
- Playing too long or going well over budget
- Thinking or talking about gambling too much
- Lying to others about your gambling habits
- Finding it difficult to not play games regularly
- Having anxiety, depression, guilt, or irritability
Get help for gambling problems
No matter where you live, there is always someone willing to help when either you or someone you know is experiencing problems. Here, we have exhaustively listed many of the best agencies and organizations in various countries around the world. The ones without a country code next to their name are more internationally focused and can be accessed by anyone.
- Action on Addiction (UK) (https://www.actiononaddiction.org.uk/)
- Adictel Addiction Prevention (FR) (https://www.adictel.com/)
- AGOG (NL) (https://www.agog.nl/)
- Betfilter (http://www.betfilter.com/)
- Canada Safety Council (CA) (https://canadasafetycouncil.org/)
- Danish Gambling Authority (DK) (https://spillemyndigheden.dk/)
- GamAnon (UK) (http://gamanon.org.uk/)
- GambleAware (https://about.gambleaware.org/)
- Gambler’s Anonymous (http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga//)
- Gambling Helpline (NZ) (https://www.gamblinghelpline.co.nz/)
- Gambling Help Online (AU) (http://www.gamblinghelponline.org.au/)
- Gambling Therapy (https://www.gamblingtherapy.org/en/)
- GamCare (UK) (https://www.gamcare.org.uk/)
- GiocaResponsabile (IT) (http://www.gioca-responsabile.it/)
- Gluecksspielsucht (DE) (https://www.gluecksspielsucht.de/)
- Gok Hulp (BE) (https://gokhulp.be/)
- Gordon Moody Association (UK) (https://www.gordonmoody.org.uk/)
- Hjelpelinjen (NO) (https://hjelpelinjen.no/)
- Hope Trust (IN) (https://hopetrustindia.com/)
- International Center for Responsible Gaming (https://www.icrg.org/)
- National Council on Problem Gambling (US) (https://www.ncpgambling.org/)
- Peluuri (FI) (https://www.peluuri.fi/)
- Responsible Gaming Council (https://www.responsiblegambling.org/)
- Responsible Gaming Foundation (MT) (https://www.rgf.org.mt/)
- South African Responsible Gambling Foundation (ZA) (https://responsiblegambling.org.za/)
- Stodlinjen (SE) (https://www.stodlinjen.se/)
- Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (UK) (https://www.ygam.org/)
Help supporting others
When it comes to lending a hand to someone who we suspect if suffering or else someone who has openly admitted to having problems, we would first and foremost advise that you contact one of the professional services listed above for expert guidance. On the ground level, however, there are a few pointers that can help make things go much smoother and prevent yourself from getting in over your head. So, the first piece of advice is that you cannot help someone else if you are not in a good headspace yourself. This can be extended to many areas of life, of course, but it is particularly important when helping someone who is acting out of character.
Related to the above point, you should in no way expect to be able to do everything yourself. In addition to the resources we have listed above, you will also require a few trusted friends or family members to give you emotional support when you need it. In fact, if a person requires more attention than normal, especially when first tackling the problems, you might need to divide the task of keeping an eye out for the person with someone else that you both trust.
Finally, we must point out that you should never give the person any money. After all, you will only be exacerbating the problem. Also, if the person experiences a relapse or gets angry with you, you should not confront them about it but only offer support in a calm and collected manner. Remember, gambling addiction is a disease of the mind and it is often something that they cannot stop, even if they want to. Compassion is always the best way to help them out!
Get help – conclusion
We hope this article has helped you understand the enormous amount of free resources available to those with gambling problems. Stay strong and we hope things turn around.