Can hypnotherapy stop your gambling addiction?
You can feel your heart rate getting faster, your palms are getting sweaty and you feel agitated. The excitement grows as you feel a rush of adrenalin coursing through your body. This ‘rush’ you feel is so addictive and as powerful as any illegal drug you can get on the black market. Just another couple of minutes and you will know your fate. Finally - you’ve done it! You’ve won! The euphoria kicks in when you realise that all that money is now yours. Just think of all the nice things you can buy with your winnings but wait, just think what you can do if you gamble all that money in the next race, or the next card game – you could buy twice as much and let’s face it, you’re obviously on a lucky streak so yeah, one more bet then you promise yourself you will walk away.
You are trembling with excitement as you gamble your original stake and now those winnings. The adrenalin once again courses through your body as you hold your breath in anticipation. JUST ONE MORE WIN THEN I WILL WALK AWAY this is the mantra you repeat over and over again in your head. As your gambling game comes to an end, you start to feel sick. You realise that you are not going to win this time. Your stomach starts churning and you begin to shake as the euphoria you felt earlier has been replaced by the realisation that you are about to lose it all.
The definition of the word ‘gamble’ is “take risky action in the hope of a desired result”. Gambling is based on expectation, of hope, of wishful thinking, but above all, it relies on a lot of luck. Unfortunately, the odds are always stacked against the gambler, for every win there will be many losses. Unfortunately for those who let their gambling habits become addictive, they only remember the wins, that feeling of euphoria and just like a drug addict, will do anything to get that feeling back, at any cost.
The more they lose, the more they will get that panicky feeling and try and recoup their losses. They become obsessed, they become more desperate and all common sense disappears as their stakes become higher and that need to win becomes overwhelming.
The majority of us like to enjoy a little gamble sometimes in our lives. Whether it is once a year when you put a pound on a horse you like the name of in the Grand National, or buy a weekly lottery ticket or maybe buy a raffle ticket at a fundraising night or perhaps play a game of bingo at the seaside. We all enjoy that moment of anticipation and excitement as the horses’ race to the finishing line or when the lotto numbers are called out or clutch your raffle tickets as they call out the names of the winners.
However, it becomes an addiction when it is no longer enjoyable yet you feel compelled to continue in pursuit of winning regardless of the odds. It becomes a problem when you gamble more than you can afford and it affects your ability to function without that constant craving for the next gambling ‘fix’.
Some people are fortunate and can recognise they have an addiction early on and seek appropriate help. But for others, they do not see the enormity of their situation until they have lost everything – their job, their home and even their family.
There are no pills or potions to take to cure gambling and one has to rely mostly on talking therapies. One intervention that has proved to be successful in dealing with gambling addiction is hypnosis. The hypnotherapist will guide his/her client to a state of relaxation, bypassing the conscious mind which allows the subconscious mind to focus on positive suggestions, reinforcing positive behaviours and therefore making long term changes. The therapy will allow the client to subconsciously modify his/her behaviour and understand that his/her actions are no longer appropriate or beneficial to his/her welfare.
Like most addictions, whether it be gambling, drink, drugs or food, the addict craves his next ‘fix’. Hypnosis helps by destroying this craving, replacing it with a more positive, appropriate behaviour. The therapist may suggest the client takes up a new hobby or goes for a walk, anything to replace that point when they would begin this addictive behaviour. The therapist can give his client the tools and techniques to use whenever the urge to gamble appears. He may also teach his client some self-hypnosis which he can use as and when appropriate. Not only will the hypnosis enable the client to regain a sense of calm, no longer feeling that constant agitation which goes hand in hand with most addictions, but he will also be able to rebuild his life, free of addiction and with renewed hope.
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About Biodun Ogunyemi
Biodun Ogunyemi, founder of Optimind, one of the leading practices in the UK. Trained to the highest level in Advanced Hypnotherapy and author of over 180 hypnosis products.