Most people gamble at some point in their lives, but for some gambling can become a serious addiction. For the vast majority of people, gambling entails putting a bet on a sports match now and again or entering the weekly lottery draw. However, for a small proportion of gamblers, betting and playing games to win money can become a serious addiction, which can spiral out of control and affect their professional and social lives.
In the UK, it is estimated that around 350,000 people are suffering from a gambling addiction. In recent years, the number of people experiencing problems with gambling has increased due to economic troubles associated with the global recession and an increase in the number of gambling outlets. It is now easier than ever before to gamble, with a huge number of online betting shops and games sites enabling people to gamble 24 hours a day. Every year, over 7 billion pounds is spent on gambling.
The vast majority of people who could be classed as ‘problem gamblers’ do not seek help for their addiction. In fact, NHS statistics show that only around 5 percent of people seek help and only 1 percent get treatment for their gambling problem. If a gambling problem is left to develop, debts can spiral out of control and people can become withdrawn and depressed, which can affect their professional lives and relationships with other people.
Gambling is very addictive; the adrenaline rush associated with the possibility of pulling off a big win is often described by gamblers as an unbeatable feeling and it is easy to see how people get hooked on gambling, especially if they have the means to access gambling outlets 24 hours a day. Most people can control the desire to gamble and if they start losing, they will stop. However, for some, the possibility of a win is extremely enticing and they will carry on going until they win, regardless of how much money they lose along the way.