Many people find themselves unable to explain why someone close to them continues to gamble despite the problems it causes them and those around them.

You might also wonder why some people seem able to gamble within their limits, and not develop such problems. You might be thinking that their gambling is a sign of weakness, or the inability to cope.

The most obvious answer is “for the money”, but is this really true? Money may attract someone to gambling in the first instance, but most problem gamblers use gambling as an opportunity to escape from other problems or pressures in their lives – problems at home or at work, boredom, loneliness or anxiety. Gambling problems are often experienced as being completely outside of the person’s control, and ‘just stopping’ isn’t felt to be a reasonable option.

A lot of gamblers feel they are waiting for a ‘big win’, which never comes but always seems so close. Often, when they do have a big win, they find it simply fuels their desire for more gambling, leaving them feeling trapped into a behaviour with no way out.

This would suggest that being ‘in action’ or having that ‘chance to win’ is the most important thing, rather than winning an amount of money.

Gambling may cause the outside world and its problems to simply ‘fade away’. The need to experience this sense of escape may increase as the stress of gambling in an uncontrolled way increases. Some problem gamblers say that the thrill or ‘buzz’ becomes addictive and they want to experience that feeling again and again.

Sometimes gambling problems are not a sign of weakness, but rather a way of coping with something bigger, in a way that on some level makes a lot of sense.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to call one of the helplines or join one of the online forums. You will understand all of the services that are available and find one that suits your needs.

Please click here for a list of some of the support services available.