Gambling: Triggers & Treatments

So far 2020 has been a challenging and uncertain year, due to the closures of almost everywhere in the country, a lot of people are resorting to online gambling. Virtual activities are now taking over social media during this pandemic, such as virtual sports events and online gaming. These virtual games are expected to attract problem gamblers during the crisis, because all live matches and racing had been cancelled.

For compulsive gamblers, chasing losses is a seemingly endless cycle. It can bring shame and pain to you and to the ones you love most. From gambling away money set aside for bills, to stealing money from family and friends, compulsive gamblers make decisions that in no way reflect the responsible, loving people they are outside of their addictions. It may feel like you can’t stop, but with the right help, you can overcome a gambling problem or addiction and regain control of your life.

Signs of Gambling Addiction

A pre-occupation with gambling activities and obtaining money to gamble as well as having an irresistible urge to gamble with an investment in the high, or buzz provided by such activity. Another main sign of gambling is when there is an increase in frequency and amounts spent on a bet and taking greater risks to achieve the desired excitement or escape. With this comes the loss of control over the time and money spent on gambling – eventually risking more than they can afford to lose.

A lot of gamblers develop an emotional dependency on gambling as a strategy to cope with anxiety, tension, worry or stress. Compulsive gamblers often do not seek help until they are a year’s salary or more in debt, or even worse have strong feelings of wanting to commit suicide. At this stage the gambler needs to be treated with help however a usual sign of gambling addiction is usually being in denial and this can make it hard for the person to go for treatment.

Types of Gambling

Chance Based Gambling- Playing the lottery, roulette, bingo or gaming machines. All players have an equal chance of winning, the result is picked at random, there is no skills or preparation.

Skills Based Gambling- This is betting on races and playing poker or blackjack. Your ability or skill can influence whether you win or lose. However, the odds of winning are different for all players and the odds are always against the person betting they are attracted to the house. Skills never mean a definite win; however, they do help.

Problem gambling

Your gambling goes from a fun, innocuous diversion to an unhealthy preoccupation with serious consequences. Whether you bet on sports, scratch cards, roulette, poker, or slots—in a casino, at the track, or online — if your gambling becomes a problem, it can strain your relationships, interfere with work, and lead to financial disaster.


Many people who develop a gambling addiction are considered responsible people, but a lot of factors can lead to a change in behaviour, such as:

  • Retirement
  • Traumatic circumstances (the past)
  • Job-related stress
  • Emotional upheaval, such as depression or anxiety
  • Loneliness
  • Other addictions
  • Environmental factors, such as friends

Studies have proven that people who have one addiction may be more at risk of developing another. Genetic and neurological factors may play a role.


The entire family suffers as a result of the behaviour and thinking of the gambling addict. Serious financial, psychological, emotional, social and legal problems may completely undermine family functioning to the point of collapse.

Trying to deal with the stress and tension brought on as a result of the gambler’s behaviour jeopardises the bond among family members. When the spouse, children, siblings and other family members can no longer trust the gambler, feel no sense of security, have no confidence in the gambler or even fear for their future, the result is a breakdown in the family relationships.

Endless lies, staying out late or not coming home at all, threats, manipulation and violence or domestic abuse all contribute to the dissolution of family ties.

Shame, avoidance of friends, secrecy and trying to hide the pain further magnify the isolation the family members feel as the gambler’s behaviour gets more and more out of control.


Seek help and take the initiative. You don’t need to go through this alone. There are thousands of others out there who are in the same situation. Start with your GP, who can recommend and refer you to appropriate treatments and services or give us a call at Tabor Group and we will guide you through the various options for residential treatment. With decades of experience in dealing with gambling addiction, you will be in safe and confidential hands.

Tabor Group

If you or a loved one are suffering from an 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 counsellors today for information at +353 (21) 488 7710 or email us at info@taborgroup.ie. We can help you.