Kenneth Demsky PhD

Gambling Addiction Often Causes Relationship Problems and Divorce

Posted 4th January 2017

Gambling Addiction

Counselling can help to address the difficulties of gambling addiction.

To ask for information or to arrange an appointment,
please call Kenneth Demsky, PhD on 020 7435 6116
or send an e-mail to

Gambling has crept stealthily into everyday life. Even as we buy a pint of milk, we can purchase a scratch-card or lottery ticket and try out our luck as we daydream about telling the boss that we wonít be in tomorrow because weíve won £1 million or more. A few years ago there was only one type of lottery ticket available in the U.K. Now there are a plethora of those to select from, and some people choose to have a go at several at once. The days of casinos being seen as the domain of the inestimably rich are over and even a flutter on the horses can see people sat in the bookmakers taking advantage of the incentives that lure punters into opening accounts.

However, there is a potentially more hazardous method and itís sitting in your home. Online gambling is spectacularly popular because itís so convenient, just switch on the device, go to the internet, find the site, and play for hours on end. If gambling was perceived as a male occupation this has been redressed and a vast number of websites are aimed at women who are at home all day, mums, housewives, retired, unemployed, with a need for a diversion, but the small bets add up.

The advent of internet gambling alongside with global recession fuelled the rise in the number of people seeking to make a little extra money and experience an adrenaline rush. While for many this activity remained a pleasant pastime and not of huge consequences, according to statistics from Gambling Addiction approximately 350,000 people in the UK are currently suffering from a gambling addiction.

It has been estimated that over £7 billion per annum is spent on gambling. Thatís a lot of play, and many gambling addicts donít realise that they have an addiction. The National Health Service figures show that of the five percent of people who do recognise an issue and seek their help only one percent will take action and have treatment. Inaction allows jobs to be lost, personal relationships to be sacrificed and trust and financial security shattered.

There is an underlying reason why gambling takes over someoneís life and it is hugely beneficial to speak to a therapist about compulsive gambling. The gambling and the allure of the adrenalin rush are only the symptoms and it is essential to establish what is truly wrong. When this is understood and discussed the restoral of quality of life can begin with better coping techniques advised by the counsellor, so that the addict can function without gambling.

Self-help techniques may include closing accounts, handing credit and debit cards to a loved one so that funds canít be accessed, not associating with people or placing themselves in situations which will tempt or encourage them to gamble.

Some primary ways of identifying whether the recreational gambling has become compulsive gambling are as follows:

  • Gambling is uppermost in the personís mind the majority of the time.
  • Dishonesty about gambling with family and friends, even when asked directly if they are gambling they deny it.
  • Secretive gambling.
  • Spending time away from family and friends to facilitate gambling activities.
  • Justifying gambling by saying that it is an investment for the future, for family, and believing that the big win is just about to happen.
  • Seeking out ways to get funds for gambling.
  • Gambling when funds are not available.
  • Stealing or borrowing funds to enable gambling.
  • Inability to give up the gambling activity even though they might try to.

All of the above will cause tension within a relationship, as not all partners will sympathise if they donít know thereís a problem or if they canít deal with its ramifications. Counselling can help to stop the decline of a relationship before it meets an unhappy end.

Five common misconceptions:

  • Only irresponsible or reckless people can suffer from it Ė No, anybody can potentially become addicted.
  • A partner drives the gambler into the addiction and is therefore to blame Ė The cause of addiction is more often within the sufferer than an external source.
  • A compulsive gambler gambles every day. Ė Not necessarily.
  • People can spot a compulsive gambler easily Ė Not so, a gambler wonít advertise so the problem is not at all easy to identify.
  • Paying off a gamblerís debts will stop them gambling - It has been found that paying off a gamblerís debts often has the opposite effect, with the debt paid the gambler feels freer to carry on gambling. More friction ensues.

If you or a partner have a compulsive gambling issue, talking about it and other troubling subjects can open the door to freedom from seeking adrenalin rushes and save a marriage from crumbling under the pressure.

Posted 4th January 2017

To ask  for information or to arrange an appointment,
please call Kenneth Demsky, PhD
on 020 7435 6116
or send an e-mail to