Gambling addictions
and how to deal with them

The Bridge Marbella are addiction specialists, offering support for all kinds of addictions in our luxury rehab. We are a gambling rehabilitation centre, committed to supporting our patients and enabling them to recover from their gambling addiction. We want you to leave our rehab in Spain understanding your addiction, being more resilient to temptation and with the tools to stop gambling for good and break the vicious cycle of addiction.

As a gambling rehabilitation centre, we’ve seen firsthand just how damaging gambling addiction is, to the addict themselves and to their families. However, we see that it’s an addiction which is very often denied by the addicts themselves, and only flagged up by loved ones and colleagues. That’s because gambling is seen to be socially acceptable, with a large proportion of the population “having a flutter”, betting on sports or playing the lottery on a regular basis. However, once gambling becomes compulsive, it can be as destructive on your life and family as substance abuse, so must be taken seriously and acknowledged as a problem.

There is lots of help out there for anyone struggling with this problem and gambling addiction treatment is highly effective. Don’t feel ashamed to admit that your gambling has got out of control and you can’t stop. Reach out and get help, before the problem escalates even further.

Our qualified and experienced addiction specialists are here to answer your questions about gambling addiction and we have a range of different programmes to suit your lifestyle and commitments. Our gambling rehabilitation centre offers online addiction treatment which you can do anywhere, as well as programmes where you visit our centre in Marbella every day, or a few days a week. If you need a more intensive treatment programme and don’t feel able to stop gambling when you’re still at home, we also offer residential rehabilitation programmes, which deliver intensive treatment for gambling addiction, away from temptation. There are also gambling support groups and your GP will be able to refer you for relevant therapy and treatment.

Please know that you do not have to face this alone and there are solutions to any financial or family problems you may have. Contact us today to start getting help.

What is
gambling addiction?

There are lots of different types of problem gamblers. But to put it very simply, if you are addicted to gambling, you will not be able to stop yourself from gambling. The type of betting, frequency and amount you bet may vary, but the thing that brings addicts together is the compulsion, or uncontrollable urge to gamble. You are not able to stop, even when you can no longer afford it and it is negatively affecting the rest of your life.

Gambling is a very popular pastime, with 60% of adults in the UK gambling in some way, according to GambleAware’s 2022 survey. The survey also revealed that 1.5 million adults in the UK are defined as high-risk, or problem gamblers. Sadly, the survey also showed that there’s a real stigma around problem gambling, which acts as a barrier to seeking help and also negatively affects their mental health. There’s a lot of shame associated with developing a problem with gambling, and sufferers don’t want to talk about their gambling to family or friends, or are afraid of seeking help, as they feel it is not as serious as other addictions like drugs or alcohol.

However, it’s vital to get help, as gambling addiction quickly has adverse effects on your finances and your relationships. Your loved ones are at the front line of the consequences of your addiction and your mental health can also be severely impacted by a gambling addiction. That’s why spotting the signs that you are addicted to gambling and seeking help as soon as you can, is crucial to overcoming the addiction before the consequences are too severe.

What are the
symptoms of gambling addiction?

The defining symptom of gambling addiction is not being able to stop. But, as addicts often deny the addiction for a long time, we thought it would be helpful to outline a few other warning signs to look out for.

  • Being obsessed by gambling and avoiding work or family commitments to gamble

  • Lying about how often you gamble and how much you spend and trying to hide the habit

  • Funding your gambling through extreme means, such as selling possessions, stealing money or using money for bills to bet

  • Gambling to feel better and then feeling guilty after you’ve done it

  • Taking bigger risks, betting more to cover losses, or betting more than you can afford for the thrill of the win

It’s important to note that you can still be addicted to gambling even if you don’t do it frequently.

How do you
treat gambling addiction?

The first thing you need to do is admit that you have a problem with gambling. Unfortunately, shame and stigma can make this a major stumbling block for this type of addiction. Once you have, there are a wide range of treatment options for you, so please don’t lose hope.

A gambling addiction may not manifest like an addiction to drugs or alcohol, but the compulsion and how it affects an addict’s brain is very similar. This is good news, as there are very well-established treatment methods and programmes out there to help you once you admit there’s a problem and seek help. As the support group Gamblers Anonymous so rightly says – there is hope!

Here are a number of ways you can get help for a gambling addiction –

  • Speak to your GP and find out what gambling addiction support there is near you and what free services are available on the NHS.

  • Reach out to your local branch of Gamblers Anonymous and join a meeting to follow their 12-step programme. It follows the same system as AA and can be a great way to get support from fellow addicts, learn coping strategies and develop a support system to break the cycle of the addiction.

  • Try therapy – cognitive behavioural therapy and 1-2-1 therapy can be valuable for gambling addicts to understand why they gamble compulsively and take back control of their thoughts, feelings and actions through simple, but effective techniques. Therapy can also get to the root of why you gamble and deal with any trauma that could be lying behind this addiction.

  • Sign-up to an online addiction treatment programme – Unfortunately a large proportion of gambling addicts do not seek help, either because they won’t admit they have a problem, feel shame about getting treatment or can’t afford residential rehab programmes. However, studies have shown that virtual treatment programmes can work very well in this case, because it is easier to access without affecting the rest of your life, can be done in the comfort of your home and is significantly cheaper than traditional rehabilitation programmes. During the pandemic when clients couldn’t travel to our gambling rehabilitation centre in Marbella, but still desperately needed our help, we developed a virtual addiction treatment programme. This is a four week, rolling programme delivered by the same expert team of qualified therapists and addiction specialists that deliver our residential programme but at a fraction of the cost. It can be an excellent way to seek help.

  • Go to rehab – There are residential gambling rehabilitation centres with intensive programmes suitable for people who find themselves unable to stop gambling without being removed from the triggers and temptations of their day-to-day lives. This offers you a safe place to stop and seek intensive treatment and make a lasting change. Alternatively, an outpatient rehabilitation programme such as our dayhab programme can be better for people who want to continue working, or living at home, while seeking treatment.

Whatever route you take, we urge you to seek help and deal with your gambling addiction, before it causes lasting damage to your relationships, finances and gets so bad that you feel like you need to take desperate measures. Unfortunately, there is an increased risk of suicide in people who gamble excessively, so this is not something which should be taken lightly. There is help out there, please don’t lose hope. Our addiction professionals are at the end of the phone, and here to support you and help you lead a full and happy life free from gambling addiction.

Our approach to
treating gambling addiction

Our gambling rehabilitation centre in Marbella is here to help you to beat your gambling addiction. We offer a range of therapy types, treatments and holistic therapies which are highly effective at treating this complex issue. Our team is highly qualified and have many years of experience with helping clients with addiction.

This is an exclusive gambling rehabilitation centre, with bespoke programmes, where personalised treatment and discretion is key. We have a lot of experience treating highly successful clients, with very demanding jobs, who want effective treatment in a comfortable environment. We try to fit our treatment programme around any work or family commitments they may have.

We know you’re so much more than your gambling addiction and believe that, with work, everyone is capable of a lasting recovery, given the right help. Through therapy sessions, counselling and a bespoke programme of treatments and activities, you will understand your addiction, your triggers and the issues which may be behind your destructive behaviours. You’ll leave our gambling rehabilitation centre feeling better than ever, with the tools and strategies to overcome urges and stop you from gambling outside, in the real world. Ready for a new start, without gambling.