One of the UK’s leading female addiction specialists has said that online gambling is becoming more attractive and addictive to women than the use of drugs or alcohol. Liz Karter says that a general increase in work stress is often a major influence in growth in addiction to online gambling as women more frequently turn to online poker or similar games at home rather than winding down in the evenings with drinks at bars or pubs.
The most extreme and serious gambling addictions can result in people losing very large sums of money. Women have even been found to be more likely to turn to steal in order to feed their families, resulting in criminal records which can rapidly bring them to the verge of losing their children.
“Instead of going out drinking, women are coming home from work and switching on the PC. Many are in demanding careers and want to be able to escape at the end of the day while remaining in control in a way they would not be after drinking or taking drugs. Then they can return to the real world and at first there are no side effects – only later do the problems really start when the habit sets in.”
There are dramatically increasing numbers of women admitting to having gambling problems in the wake of rapid growth in the industry itself. GamCare, an organisation funded by the gambling industry itself, has said it received over 54,000 calls in 2012 which was an increase of almost 8% on figures from 2011. Fully half of the women who called the helpline had serious problems with online gambling, compared with only a third of men – a 44% increase on figures for the previous year.
The Gambling Commission regulator’s most recent omnibus survey in January 2013 also showed that as many as 55% of the women who were questioned admitted to having gambled online in the previous month – an enormous increase in female gamblers over previous surveys. Ms Karter argues, however, that women’s addiction – both to gambling and more generally – is often greatly misunderstood, and that women suffering from addictions are just as likely to be high powered professionals as from deprived or less economically affluent backgrounds, saying that professional women are keenly aware that they cannot risk working with a hangover the next day and so see online gambling as a safer option than alcohol or drugs.
She also says that gambling advertising makes recovery very difficult and is extremely “unfair” to addicts, meaning most will need very intensive levels of aftercare to avoid slipping back into their addiction.
“There are so many reminders everywhere. It’s like trying to get over a relationship and seeing pictures of your ex-partner all over the TV, the newspapers and the internet. It makes recovery very difficult.
“Many contact the companies to ask to be banned from gambling, which they are. Then they receive an email a week or two later from a subsidiary website offering them free cash saying, ‘We miss you’. Would your local pub offer you free whisky to feel better two weeks into a drying-out period?”
At Rehab Recovery we have more than once seen patients who do not engage with aftercare services slide back into their addiction, undoing all the progress they have made after their rehabilitation. That’s why we’ve made sure that our aftercare services are highly tailored and completely individual to each patient so that rather than a standardised or impersonal checkup you’ll hear from the same advisor who helped you to rehab in the first place so is familiar with your history and circumstances.
This personalised approach has ensured we are able to help people from all backgrounds to overcome their addiction to gambling, alcohol, drugs and a wide range of other self-destructive behaviours while becoming more self-aware and fulfilled in themselves so they are able to lead a happier and more productive life.
To find out how we could help you to get started beating addiction give us a call on 0800 088 66 86 today.