Gambling addiction is often accompanied by feelings of shame. This shame can be related to:
Thegambling itself. You feel ashamed because you have become addicted to gambling. Perhaps you wonder how exactly you could have become addicted to something like gambling.
The debts you've accumulated.
This can result in:
Withholding your problem from your partner/friends/family.
Lying to your partner/friends/family.
Shame is a serious and difficult feeling and can make you turn to flight behavior to escape this feeling, resulting in self-destructive behavior. Shame can make that you:
Isolate yourself from friends/family.
Don`t (dare to) go to work anymore.
Become suspicious or paranoid and think that people can tell that you gamble.
Developing feelings of fear and panic.
Developing feelings of depression.
Develop feelings of hopelessness.
Start using booze and/or drugs.
Have suicidal thoughts.
Start to gamble more.
The shame you feel can even cause you to be so ashamed of having lost your money, that you start trying to win it back, which in turn causes you to gamble, which then causes you to lose even more money and feel even more ashamed. This can put you in a vicious cycle that seems impossible to break.
It may be that you know very well that it is better not to gamble and why. You may even know how gambling affects your brain, but you still can't manage to stop against your better judgment. This can seriously affect your self-esteem.
You may notice this by how you talk to yourself and how you think about yourself. Examples of this can be:
"What a loser I am."
"It's never going to work out for me anyway."
"Nobody likes me because I'm so stupid for gambling."
"I'm better off not being here at all."
Every time you decide not to gamble and end up doing it anyway, your sense of failure grows and so do your negative thoughts about yourself. It is understandable that at first you try to solve your problem yourself, but when you notice that you can not do it alone you are actually too deep into your addiction to be able to do it yourself. Then it is important to seek help as soon as possible.
When you get help, you can get practical tips that can help you make a success of your attempts to stop gambling. Every time you succeed in not giving in to gambling is a success experience and contributes to rebuilding the faith you have in yourself and the confidence that you can get out of this situation and away from your addiction.
Help is available in many shapes and sizes, including anonymous and free help. Visit our help finder for current help offerings in your area.
It is also advisable to discuss your problem with your general practicioner. He or she than knows what is going on and can help refer you to the right care. You can also contact Loket Kansspel to talk to an expert.
Talk about your problem
Shame remains if you don't talk about it. Walking around with a secret is a heavy burden on yourself. The longer you walk around with this secret, the greater the shame, until eventually it is so big that you no longer dare to share it, let alone face it yourself. Therefore it is important not to wait to talk about your problem(s). Talk to someone you feel safe with, for example: your partner, father/ mother, your family doctor, a good friend, or someone from Loket Kansspel.
Accept your feelings of shame (Yes, really!)
Shame in small amounts can be helpful. For example, a little shame can be a good motivation to do something better or differently next time. Only when the shame becomes so great that you want to hide from it does it really become a problem.
Trying to push the feelings of shame away is not a good idea. The harder you push them away, the harder they come back to the surface. Therefore it is important to accept that you have these feelings and actively work to reduce your feelings of shame by talking about them.
Be kind to yourself
Things that have been done don't take a turn. Things that have happened, you simply can not change. But that doesn't mean that you should forget all about the times you gambled or lied about it and just do it again the next time. The idea of course, is that you learn something from your mistakes. There is no point in beating yourself up by constantly bringing yourself down with negative thoughts. Be nice to yourself, you can use that (especially now)!
You don't have to do this alone, there are people who would love to help you!
The national service for people with a gambling problem/gambling addiction. Here you can find useful tips for a gambling addiction.
The help-seeker of Loket kansspel
On this page you will find a handy help finder where you can enter your zip code to quickly find the available help in your area.