Don’t gamble your life away on Cheltenham

Don’t gamble your life away, In the 1980s, TD Tony Gregory warned about an impending heroin epidemic. We didn’t listen. We must act on similar fears over gambling addiction, writes John Byrne.

A festival is defined as ‘a special time of rejoicing or feasting’. It is not surprising then, that the Cheltenham Festival conjures up images of leisure and recreation for most people. For family members of people with a gambling addiction, though, this week will be incredibly difficult.

It will be a reminder of the farm or business that they have lost, the credit card debt, the reason their mortgage is in arrears or the times that they could not afford to feed their children because the person with the addiction had spent an entire week’s wages on one night in the bookmakers or online gambling.

For those people, this week will feel like a lifetime. Addiction is the term used to describe a cycle of compulsive, out-of-control behaviour that is damaging to the person’s physical or mental health (or to their general situation in life). When we use this definition, then practically anything can be addictive, though the most common behaviours that cause problems for people involve alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, or sex.

Sometimes people think that they do not have an addiction because they can abstain from the behaviour for a period of time. That is not necessarily so.  All across Ireland, there are people who abstain from drinking alcohol from January to St Patrick ’s Day, in order to convince themselves that they do not have a problem, then they drink problematically for the rest of the year.

In assessing addiction, it not necessarily how often the person engages in the behaviour or the extent to which they do it that is important. It is their relationship to the behaviour and why they do it. People with addictive tendencies will typically use their addictive behaviour as a coping strategy or means of escaping difficult life situations.  Anybody can develop an addiction, but if we were to identify a person who is particularly susceptible, it would be somebody who struggles to cope with the challenges of life.

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The signs and symptoms of gambling addiction include the following:

  • Preoccupation with gambling. Thinking about it more often, and finding more ways to gamble across the day/week;
  • Beginning to feel shame and guilt related to gambling, but doing it anyway;
  • Withdrawing from relationships with family or friends to engage in gambling;
  • Hiding your gambling from family or friends;
  • Spending more than you intend to, or can afford, on gambling;
  • Chasing/trying to regain losses by gambling more;
  • Mood swings/tension/stress/unhappiness/depression;
  • Spending money that is not yours on gambling;

Get Help at Tabor Group

If you or a loved one are suffering from an gambling addiction, get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our counselors today for information at +353 (21) 488 7110 or email us at Email Us .We can help you.