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Has lockdown changed the way you gamble?

latest blog by Ibiza Calm

Ibiza Calm - Has lockdown changed the way you gamble?
20/09/2021 | category: News

Has lockdown changed the way you gamble?

Gambling during lockdown

Amongst all the other restrictions caused by the covid-19 lockdown, the closure of high street betting shops and high stakes casinos didn’t rank highly in most people’s minds as a serious problem. In fact, many will have seen it as a good thing, as the most susceptible in the community were unable to gamble away funds already reduced by the loss of work. 

However, isolation, loneliness, and feelings of fear, angst and hopelessness saw a lot of individuals with a history of addictive behaviours turn to online gambling as a method to escape the madness that was going on in the world outside their front doors. Along with the rise in the use of alcohol and drugs, lockdown saw an increase in the number of problem gamblers struggling. 

For many individuals, who would in normal circumstances only have the occasional flutter, cybersports betting and online casinos became a way to relieve some of the boredom and stress brought about by weeks of being stuck indoors, with limited social interaction and a global pandemic raging.

Online gambling and the internet have meant that there are no time limits to betting, websites are open 24 hours a day and accessible from a laptop, tablet, or phone wherever you are, there is no escape. During the UK’s first lockdown gambling firms stopped all radio and tv advertising; understanding the potential damage it could trigger for vulnerable people and addicts stuck at home. 

Now, with the return of sporting events, and the restrictions on advertising and shop closures lifted, the world of bookmaking has seemingly returned to normal. But for some unfortunate individuals, their occasional release valve has turned into a serious and expensive habit that they can’t stop.

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Why do people gamble? 

People gamble for many reasons. For some, it is a social event, a chance to get dressed up and hang out with their friends. Others bet for financial reasons, they believe if they hit the jackpot or win big that it will change their life. A lot will do it purely for the entertainment, they like the feeling they get, the high from taking a risk and the adrenaline rush while waiting for their horse to come in or the jackpot to come up. Others still will gamble as a coping mechanism, for a short while it takes away their worries and tension, and they feel more confident and in control.

No matter the beginning, for some individuals the gambling gets out of control, and it turns into an addictive behaviour. They find themselves betting more than they can afford to lose, borrowing money, feeling stressed and anxious about gambling, and find that the urge to place a bet comes before all their other responsibilities.

Problem gambling or a gambling addiction, can have a negative impact on health, relationships, finances, and careers, it leaves individuals broken, frightened and depressed, and there is a significantly high suicide rate amongst compulsive gamblers.

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What is considered a gambling addiction? 

Problem gambling is an addictive disorder, sometimes called a process or behavioural addiction and previously classified by both the American (DSM) and International (ICD) disease manuals as an impulse control disorder. Whichever term you choose, a gambling addiction is a serious condition that causes an individual to continue repeatedly and obsessively to gamble despite there being negative and unfavourable consequences to doing so. Some problem gamblers put their compulsion before everything else, socialising, family, job, and even health. Whether someone has a gambling addiction is often measured by the harm it is causing to the individual and those around them, family, friends and loved ones.

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Six signs of a gambling problem 

Unlike a substance addiction there are not always physical symptoms of a gambling addiction or disorder, but here are some signs that a habit has gotten out of control.

  1. An obsessive preoccupation with gambling, needing to increase the frequency and amount gambled to achieve the desired “high” or thrill.
  2. Repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop, reduce or control the gambling, leading to restlessness, irritability, and discontentment.
  3. Uses gambling to deal with emotions like anxiety, stress, or depression.
  4. Dishonesty and secretiveness – attempting to cover up the extent of the gambling with lies.
  5. Withdrawal from social situations and previously enjoyed activities, eventually putting gambling before everything else friends, family, and work. Damaging relationships and career opportunities.
  6. Going into debt, obtaining loans and credit cards. Borrowing money from friends and family to pay household bills. Stealing and committing fraud to gain extra funds.

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Where can I get help for a gambling addiction? 

For someone with a gambling addiction, the feeling of gambling is equivalent to taking a drug or having a drink, and it can be treated in similar ways.

Self-help support groups – Gamblers Anonymous is a 12 Step recovery program based on the same premise and principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. It involves regular peer group meetings, talking about any problems and concerns and getting invaluable guidance and support from others who have gone through similar experiences.

Therapy and counselling – Attending regular sessions with an experienced and qualified addiction therapist or counsellor can help address the underlying feelings and look at the reasons why someone picks up an addictive behaviour and continues to use it, or act out, despite the negative consequences. 

Residential (inpatient) rehab – Ideal for anyone struggling with an addiction problem or mental health disorder. A well-established private rehab centre or specialised addiction clinic will use a combination of therapy models to treat an individual’s primary and co-occurring conditions and has the added benefit of removing an addict from their day-to-day life and all the distractions that go with it, giving them time to focus fully on their recovery.

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Rehab in Spain 

Here at our luxury residential rehab centre in Ibiza we treat clients suffering with a variety of addictions and disorders, including impulse control (OCD), substance abuse (drugs and alcohol) and processes (gambling and sex), as well as mental health conditions such as bipolar, anxiety and depression. 

The rehabilitation centre’s therapeutic team is headed by Medical Director, Dr Manuel Rodriguez. We are highly qualified in a range of treatments including talk therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), cognitive behavioural (CBT) and equine-facilitated therapy.

For details on admissions please contact sharon@ibizacalm.com


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