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Be free from gambling

 | September 9, 2012

Hypnotherapy is a new tool for cracking through the illusion suffered by the gambler and destroys the compulsion of gambling.

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It sometimes makes me wonder as to how a very loving person, successful in his job, with great personality and reputation can be in deep trouble in a mountain of debts because of gambling.

Gambling is on the rise in Malaysia and I read somewhere that in Singapore it’s a visible social problem today.

I can only tell you this, gambling ruins your life and all the opportunities it has.

Gambling addiction is a type of impulse-control disorder. Compulsive gamblers have difficulty controlling their impulse to gamble, even when they know their gambling is hurting themselves and their loved ones.

Gambling is all they can think about and all they want to do, no matter the consequences. It’s a key focus to them to survive. Compulsive gamblers keep gambling whether they’re up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed.

Even when they know the odds are against them, even when they can’t afford to lose, people with a gambling addiction can’t “stay off the bet.”

I remember knowing such a teenage girl who was out video gambling every day without a single conscious as to how she had to pay. Gambling spots don’t have any reservation as long as their clients spend their money in their premises.

Eventually her elderly mother had to sell her home to bail out her daughter’s debts from credit cards, ah-longs, borrowings, etc.

So how do you identify a gambler in you or someone?  If you’re preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences, you have a gambling problem.

The symptoms

When I get a client coming to me to seek help on gambling, they are either at a stage where their family had given them the ultimatum to seek help, probably owing a few hundred thousands of money somewhere or their wife threatening divorce and leaving home with the kids.

In my heart, how I wish these clients could have taken charge of their habit and seek damage control help earlier? Such is this revolting habit of destruction.

When the gambling occurs, in order to be diagnosed, an individual must have at least five of the following symptoms described below.

Notice them having symptoms of ‘preoccupation’ where the person has frequent thoughts about gambling experiences, whether past, future, or fantasy.

‘Tolerance’ is when the person requires larger or more frequent wagers to experience the same “rush”.

‘Withdrawal’ symptoms are when they are showing restlessness or irritability associated with attempts to cease or reduce gambling.

Another is a killer symptom – ‘escape’ when the person gambles to improve mood or escape problems.

‘Chasing’ is another symptom where the person tries to win back gambling losses with more gambling.

‘Lying’ is when the person tries to hide the extent of his or her gambling by lying to family, friends, or therapists. ‘Loss of control’ is when the person has unsuccessfully attempted to reduce gambling.

Here is where it gets really horrible when ‘illegal’ acts make the person break the law in order to obtain gambling money or recover gambling losses with acts of theft, embezzlement, fraud, or forgery.

Also they ‘risk significant relationship’ where the person gambles despite risking or losing a relationship, job or other significant opportunity.

And finally there is the ‘bailout’ where the person turns to family, friends, or another third party for financial assistance as a result of gambling.

I have described all these symptoms so that if you are suffering such a habit to seek positive reinforcement and help as soon as possible. The faster you acknowledge and be honest to yourself that this is a problem you cannot handle yourself, the greater your chance to recover and contain anymore losses.

Hypnotherapy

When I deal with such clients, we find that some triggers to gambling are unpleasant feelings such as stress, depression, loneliness, fear, and anxiety that can trigger compulsive gambling or make it worse.

For example after a stressful day at work or after an argument with your spouse or co-worker, an evening at the track or the casino can seem like a fun, exciting way to unwind.

Yet I will recommend that there are healthier and far less expensive ways to keep unpleasant feelings in check. These may include exercising, meditating, using sensory relaxation strategies and practicing simple breathing exercises.

Hearing a hypnosis audio will also settle those nerves well.

Many people have taken control and stop gambling in their life. However for many people, an important aspect of quitting gambling is to find alternate ways to handle these difficult feelings without gambling after they had stopped.

Even when gambling is no longer a part of your life, the painful and unpleasant feelings that may have prompted you to gamble in the past will still remain.

So, it’s worth spending some time thinking about the different ways you intend to deal with stressful situations and the daily irritations that would normally trigger you to start gambling.

Hypnotherapy is a new tool for cracking through the illusion suffered by the gambler and destroys the compulsion of gambling.

The first task is to reveal to the gambler what is happening to them in a gambling trance so that they can become aware of just how it entraps them. The pre-talk makes sure that they understand this process and deploy some powerful metaphors to hold the new understanding.

In a normal gambling trance, the gambler maintains a psychological barrier between some aspects of their experience, and never allows them to realize that there are two mindsets connected.

In hypnosis the two mind faculties are brought simultaneously into focus for further healing.

Then the fun begins as a healing hypnotic trance is induced through gentle and powerful engagement with a truly healthy and rewarding behaviour via suggestions.

Now the previously separated aspects of gambling are then turned topsy-turvy, creating the opportunity for a complete re-orientation in the mind of the erstwhile gambler with respect to what they really value in life.

Julian is a London trained subconscious specialist with Hypno-Station. He is Malaysia’s most renowned clinical hypnotherapist, media personality, columnist, event host and book author. He can be contacted at [email protected]


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