Adding to the NHS’s mounting ‘to do’ list comes a call for better access to therapy for addicted gamblers.
“Former postman Neil Humphreys checked himself in after amassing debts of £16,000 – the same amount as he earned in a year. His gambling hobby became an addiction when he discovered internet casinos. It nearly destroyed his life.
“It just seemed to get hold of me,” he says.
“I actually tried to get rid of my computer at one point but then I started going to internet cafes and I was doing it there, so I couldn’t get away from it.
“I kept wanting to stop but as soon as I could get hold of some more money, I was back on it.”
Mr Humphreys tried closing his accounts with the online sites he was gambling on. But that did not work. He received emails and phone calls offering him free bets. In the end, he took up an offer of $250 free bets and started gambling again. Having lost everything, he is now surviving on benefits. It will take him 10 years to pay his debts back.”
Addiction occurs when chemical reward systems in the brain activated by whatever you’re addicted to start compensating for a lack of natural, more ‘wholesome’ rewards in your everyday life. Working towards a healthier life in which emotional needs are met is the starting point for addiction therapy.
Creating a society in which these needs can be more easily met should be a priority for the government, considering plans for ‘supercasinos’ that have been bandied about recently.
>> Read more about addiction here
Posted by: Eleanor