Recently I was in my local garage buying petrol and the newspaper and the assistant asked me if I wanted to do the lotto. I said “I do not gamble”. I thought of those with a gambling addiction facing this every time they filled up with petrol. Unlike other European countries, every pub in Ireland seems to have a betting shop beside it. A friend told me he was in a pub – which does not have a betting shop beside it – and there was a man in the pub with a laptop taking bets. Last year, I went to the country tracing my family tree and we went into a pub for a coffee. There was a one-arm bandit machine and from the time we went in a man was feeding money into it. Us three were the only customers. Every now and then the man would get change of a €20 and keep feeding the machine. There was a rugby match on the tv which distracted us. Then a woman and a young boy entered the pub and tried to get him to leave but he would not. The young man behind the counter saw all this and when the woman and child left he gave the man change of another €20. We were so uncomfortable we had to leave.

Gambling is socially acceptable is considered harmless. Reasons for becoming a gambling addict are many – although some feel it is hereditary – although I have worked with gamblers who said no one in the family gambled. I would say – as far as they know – no one gambled – but there is a lot of secrecy in families.

It is so easy to gamble now – with online gambling – online bingo etc

Gambling fills a void – it gives a person control over one area in their live – the frightening thing is it can develop gradually – the rare winning keeps the person going

Side effects: depression – psychosomatic illness – cannot concentrate on work or on family – and in severe cases can lead to suicidal thoughts or even suicide attempts

The good news is any one with a gambling addiction can make a choice to STOP

Help is available from 1800 753 753

or if you need one-to-one brief solution focused therapy or psychotherapy – please contact me

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