Gambling Addiction

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Gambling Addiction is a progressive illness, so even if you’ve gambled before and been okay, a problem could develop later on. The urge to gamble can be overwhelming, leading someone to lie, steal, blow through their savings and miss out on the rest of their lives. Several signs indicate when normal enjoyment of gambling transitions into a gambling addiction. The earlier the process is identified, the better the chances for a successful recovery. Although compulsive gambling can be hard to overcome, many people are able to manage their gambling addiction with professional help at an addiction treatment centre.


Understanding Gambling Addiction

A gambling addiction can begin the first time someone places a bet, or it could gradually progress into an addiction over time.  Gambling addiction problems vary from person to person. Experts don’t know specifically what leads to compulsive gambling. At least they tend to not agree with each other on what is and isn’t a gambling addiction. However the DSM 5 is generally the best guideline for this at present. Generally speaking many factors could contribute to the problem, such as hereditary, emotional, traumatic, personality or environmental factors. Diagnosing a gambling problem involves looking for signs someones behaviour is out of control. In our experience underlying emotional issues almost always play a part in the compulsive behaviour. This would show in their consequences. When an addiction takes away from other areas of life through time or other costs, it is time to get help! Getting to these very intimate core issues, healing and recovering from continuing the behaviour is what we do at Pathways Plettenberg Bay Rehab Centre. Signs of problem include:

  • Spending more money on gambling than one can afford
  • Emotional distress
  • Difficulties in personal relationships caused by gambling
  • Gambling getting in the way of work, family and other aspects of normal, healthy life
  • An inability to cut back or stop gambling
  • Attempts to control or manage gambling that don’t last
  • Spending more time gambling than before, addiction is progressive in nature.
  • Attempting to hide gambling from friends or medical professionals. Keeping secrets and hiding behavior.
  • Stealing or committing fraud to support gambling
  • Asking for loans to cover gambling debts

How to Recognize an Addictive Gambler

Although compulsive gamblers often share the trait of low self-esteem, two main types of compulsive gamblers are common: escape gamblers and actions gamblers. Recognizing a compulsive gambler is easier if you know the characteristics of each type. An action gambler is someone who likes to play games involving skill and beating the odds. Poker is an example of an action game. These types of gamblers are often extroverted, self-confident and even arrogant. An escape gambler views gambling as a form of escapism, seeing it as a distraction from real life. These gamblers can appear withdrawn, unhappy or introverted.

Treatment for gambling addiction

Pathways Plett Rehab offers a range of psychological treatments for gambling addiction, depending on the needs of the individual.

Individual gamblers are able to book in with us and receive all the help they need.

For more information with gambling, drugs, alcohol and other addictions contact us at Pathways Plett Rehab on 044 533 0330 or email