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  • Alexander James

How Hypnotherapy Can Help Gambling Addiction

Gambling can be a source of fun and recreation for many people. However, for some, the line between hobby and habit becomes blurred, leading to excessive amounts of time spent gambling. This can soon spiral into a serious situation, with mounting debts, and damage done to careers, relationships, and families.

Why is gambling addictive?

People initially enjoy gambling because it stimulates the brain’s reward pathways, providing a thrill which can make us want to repeat the process. Unfortunately, for some people, this can soon cross the line from an occasional form of escapism, to a regular addiction. As the frequency of the behaviour increases, the intensity of the reward reduces, and the gambler can become locked into a spiral of chasing an ever diminishing high. Some people are more prone to addiction than others, either because of genetics, a stressful environment or life event, or a combination of these factors. The BBC reports that extreme gambling is recognised as a disorder by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is estimated that there are up to 340,000 people with a gambling problem in the UK, and in the year 2018/19, they lost a combined amount of £14.4bn.

How can you recognise a gambling problem?

Signs of a gambling disorder include an excessive amount of time spent gambling, or planning gambling activity. This can lead to gambling more than the person can afford to lose, or gambling with increasing amounts of money. They may continue gambling in the hope of recovering their losses, and find it impossible to cut back. Compulsive gamblers are more likely to be young or middle-aged men, and they may also have some underlying mental health disorder, such as anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem.

How can gambling addiction be treated?

If left unchecked, a gambling disorder is a potentially ruinous situation, both financially and personally. In the worst-case scenario, problem gambling can lead to debt, bankruptcy, loss of a career and reputation, and the break-up of relationships and families. The first step to successful treatment is acknowledging the problem. Some people may have the strength to stop with the support of loved ones, or a self-help group. However, because the problem is rooted in the unconscious mind, hypnotherapy is often used to successfully treat the addiction. Hypnosis is a completely safe procedure, when carried out by a professional therapist. The patient will be guided into a wonderfully relaxed state of hypnosis, which can feel as though they are sleepier and more relaxed than usual. However, they will never be prompted to do anything against their will and are always in control.

When in hypnosis, the client becomes more receptive to positive suggestions, a state called hyper-suggestibility. The therapist will deliver suggestions around removing the desire to be involved in gambling situations wanting to avoid gambling environments, and actually enjoy spending their money on more worthwhile activities. In addition to using hypnosis, clients can also work through their issues with their therapist learning to understand what is driving their addiction. This can be the first step to challenging unhelpful patterns of behaviour, and learning how to change them.

If you would like to talk to a hypnotherapist in Wimbledon, please talk to us today.

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