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Gambling Addiction & Treatment

Gambling can be an exhilarating hobby, but it can quickly turn dangerous when addiction takes hold. Gambling addiction can be difficult to detect, however its hold on an individual only grows stronger with continued use.

A severe gambling problem is typically seen in individuals who find themselves more and more captivated by the thrill of winning or losing money through games of luck-based chance. As time passes this scenario may become all too familiar creating a dangerous cycle that requires professional help to break free from.

Understanding the risks of gambling addiction

Problem gambling is an issue that affects a broad spectrum of society, but manifests in individuals through loss of control and significant investments of both time and money.

From classic casino games to online poker matches – from scratch cards to sports betting – it’s hard not to get caught up with the excitement when tempting luck-based activities are at your fingertips.

The destructive power of gambling addiction

Gambling can quickly become a powerful vice that takes over an addict’s life. Its effects on the workplace and relationships are particularly overwhelming, with missed days of work or unpaid debts to family members often leading to devastating consequences in furthering addiction cycles.

For millennia, gambling has been an irresistible way to make money – from emperors and monarchs of the past all the way up until today. The latest figures show a dramatic increase in consumption by nearly 12% across Europe between 2015-2018. Growing interest is undeniable as evidenced by a growth in production value above 11%. Gambling’s magical appeal continues to captivate people around us looking for their big break!

Why is gambling addictive?

Gambling can be a tricky pastime – while it might start out innocently enough, an individual may find themselves quickly addicted and unable to control their behaviour. So how does this cycle begin?

Unfortunately, due to the complex nature of addiction only a small proportion of people who gamble develop gambling problems despite everyone having the potential risk for dependence.

There are three factors that lead to gambling addiction:

  1. Gambling may have biological underpinnings, as evidenced by research that points to genetic, neurocognitive and neurobiological factors influencing an individual’s vulnerability for the development of this disorder. Messenger substances found in the brain are one such factor; their amount is determined genetically and appears more frequently among problem gamblers (Goudriaan & DeFuentes-Merillas, 2012). Collectively these findings suggest biological elements might play a role in problematic gaming behaviour.
  2. Gambling addiction may be linked to various psychological factors, with research demonstrating the increased likelihood of pathological gamblers having mental health issues and/or substance abuse. There are several mechanisms that play a role in its addictive potential: variable reinforcement ratio involved in gambling games like slots and roulette; expectation for near-misses; cognitive illusions related to excessive focus on profits. It has been discovered that there is an even higher risk when it comes to activities such as playing slot machines frequently or participating at casinos regularly due their shorter pay-out intervals.
  3. As societal influences play a major role in promoting problem gambling and gaming addiction, those living close to casinos or from deprived regions are particularly affected. These impacts have further been exacerbated with the laws governing more accessible gambling facilities leading to heightened chances of developing such issues. While traditionally viewed independently, recent years suggest that games and games of chance on the internet may be intertwined; this coalescence potentially elevates risk for some through mutual advertising as well as similarities between real-world wagering formats and virtual ones.

Effects and symptoms of a gambling addiction

Do you or a loved one suspect that there may be an addiction to gambling? A few symptoms of problem gambling include consistently not having enough money, thinking constantly about the next game, getting angry when confronted on their activities and neglecting social responsibilities.

Gambling addicts usually deny they have any issues despite failing attempts at reducing or stopping altogether. They often place too much faith in chance rather than skill and continue playing for extended periods with high stakes involved.

Monetarily stabilising oneself is difficult but worthwhile if someone wishes to break free from this affliction.

Risks of a gambling addiction

Gambling is a dangerous and addictive behaviour that can have serious repercussions on an individual’s life. The psychological dependence associated with gambling often leads to destructive behaviours such as lying, dishonesty and committing crimes in order to acquire money for bets or games of chance.

Furthermore, it has been known to cause extreme social problems like isolation from family members and friends which only serves to create bigger issues later down the line when trying reconnecting with people due to feelings of guilt or shame caused by previous actions related gambling activities.

Lastly withdrawal symptoms may also occur upon ceasing these types of habits including headaches , unrestful sleeping patterns , fatigue vibration perspiration among other dreadful side effects best avoided at all cost avoid any major mishaps.

Coping with a loved one's gambling addiction

The impact of gambling addiction can be devastating and far-reaching, affecting not only the addict but those closest to them.

Even though you may feel helpless in this situation, it is crucial to remember that there are measures you can take to break out of the vicious cycle – namely changing your own behaviour towards their problem in order to help both yourself and loved ones manage better.

It’s a difficult journey yet one worth taking so as to ultimately find peace again with a healthier balance between life and addiction.

Gambling addiction treatment

At Connection Mental Healthcare, we know that breaking a gambling addiction requires dedication and commitment. Our team offers professional help with respect and no judgement, to those seeking recovery from any form of gambling-related dependency, including poker addictions.

We have the experience necessary for effective treatment at our rehabilitation clinic in South Africa; opening the door towards lasting abstinence  and better living conditions. Our team of Dutch & South African specialists is here to help.

We provide tailored treatment plans designed to fit your individual needs, offering effective strategies to permanently stop and to prevent relapse – all while providing compassionate support during every step of your journey. Stop waiting- call us now at +27 21 541 0643 so we can start helping you build a life free from dependence!

Frequently asked questions about gambling addiction

Games of chance

There are many different types of games of chance in our society. Think of casino games, scratch cards, lotteries, slots and betting money on sports competitions. Gambling can be very exciting and fun, but there is always the chance that this will result in a gambling addiction. The excitement of winning or not winning money and the fact that someone often thinks they can get better at a game of chance can quickly make someone want to gamble again and again.

Stop gambling

We help our clients to stop gambling in a responsible and committed way. Thanks to our personal approach, our clients can return to life in a full way after the treatment.

Problem yes or no?

It is sometimes difficult to estimate whether there really is a problem. The severity of a gambling addiction depends on how often and how much gambling is done and what the consequences of gambling are.

Gambling addiction

Gambling addiction occurs when someone gambles structurally and when someone has become dependent on the behaviour and thrill of gambling. Gambling then continuously leads to the same problems.

Problem yes or no?

It is sometimes difficult to estimate whether there really is a problem. The seriousness of a gambling addiction depends on how often and how much is used and what the consequences of the use are.


When there is structural gambling, you can no longer stop independently and gambling leads to problems, it is time to seek help. The professional team of Connection Mental Healthcare is ready for you: 021 541 0643.

Help with addiction

At Connection Mental Healthcare we offer professional help with a gambling addiction. We help our clients stop gambling in a responsible and committed manner.

Short waiting lists

We do not work with long waiting lists and are happy to make an appointment for an intake at short notice. Call 021 541 0643 for help now.

Connection Mental Healthcare is a private rehab. Our rates vary depending on the length of treatment and on what kind of accommodation you prefer.

We offer shared room accommodation, and private room accommodation depending on availability. The minimum length of treatment is 28 days; however, 42 days is advised. Please contact us for more information and we will make sure that we respond to you within 24 hours.


If you register with Connection Mental Healthcare for help with a gambling addiction, you have already taken the most important step. Because we understand gambling addiction very well and have a lot of experience in treating it, we work with respect and without prejudice. Recovering from a gambling addiction is indeed possible through treatment in our clinic.


Depending on the addiction problem, we focus on getting the use under control, the withdrawal and learning how to prevent a relapse. Our specialists have a lot of experience with gambling addiction and understand better than anyone what you need. During intake we map out your needs and degree of addiction. A tailor-made treatment plan is drawn up that you can use under the guidance of our professional staff.

We can help you

Gambling addiction is a serious problem that requires professional guidance. You have to start your life again, but now without gambling. We can help you with this: call 021 541 0643 to arrange an intake.

Starts innocently

No one chooses to become addicted to gambling. It often starts innocently enough, but unconsciously someone can quickly become addicted and lose control. When there is a period of structural gambling, there is a good chance that someone has become dependent.

Different causes

There are different reasons why someone can become addicted. Personal and medical causes can play a role, as can environmental or heredity. Sometimes other underlying factors play a role. During the treatment at Connection Mental Healthcare, our specialists look beyond just your addiction and also include the aforementioned causes in the treatment program.

Gambling addiction symptoms:

  • Always lacking money, often also borrowing money and not paying it back.
  • Being obsessed with gambling and constantly thinking about the next time you can play again.
  • Responding angrily to comments about gambling.
  • Neglecting work, school, and relationships with friends and family.
  • Someone would like to reduce or stop gambling and has already tried this several times, but it is always impossible to stop.
  • Gamblers often do not believe in chance and often gamble a lot and for a longer period of time.
  • Always wanting to win back the lost money.

Gambling addiction risks:

  • serious social problems
  • serious financial problems
  • lying and deceiving
  • depressed and desperate feelings
  • feelings of guilt and shame
  • criminal activities to get money
  • How do you deal with a gambling addict?


Talk to the compulsive gambler at a well-chosen time, so not when he or she has used. Bring up the addiction in a non-blaming way. Ask how the addict prefers to be supported and make agreements for the future on the basis of this. Express your appreciation for what is going well.


Being close to someone who is addicted to gambling causes stress. You may feel guilty, angry, or very lonely. It is best to admit that it is no longer possible, that you are at the end of your strength. It is not easy to come to the conclusion that outside help is needed.

Get in touch
The professional team of Connection Mental Healthcare is ready for you: 021 541 0643.

Your own brain cells

Scientific research has shown that parts of the brain, such as the reward centre, memory and the neocortex, are involved in the development and further development of addiction. Stopping a substance to which you are addicted is therefore not at all easy because your own brain cells are bothering you.

Definitive change

Moreover, long-term gambling causes a permanent change: there are fewer dopamine receptors and powerful memories are created. These changes make a person even more susceptible to addiction. With this knowledge you could call addiction a (mental) disease.

Hereditary yes or no?

According to studies, gambling appears to be hereditary. However, it does not necessarily mean that you will also become a gambler if one of your parents is or was an addict. Environmental conditions can reduce the effect of increased susceptibility.

Family disease

Addiction can be labelled as a ‘family disease’. An addiction does not only have effects on the addict himself, but also on the environment. That is why Connection Mental Healthcare also likes to have contact with the client’s social system during treatment. In this way we help family and friends to learn how to deal with the effects.

Family program

Want to know more about our family program ? Please contact us by telephone during working days on 021 541 0643. uses cookies to give you the best experience on our website. These first-party and third-party cookies enable important functionality to operate, help us monitor and improve how the website works and for marketing purposes. By clicking 'Accept All' you accept all cookies from this website.