Gambling Addiction Relapse in the UK: How to Prevent It During COVID-19

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With the coronavirus putting humanity against the ropes, hundreds of millions are confined in their homes for their own safety, with anxiety levels growing the same as the number of infected cases reported.


With all that stress accumulated, gambling becomes an escape valve for many, killing boredom for some or a career path for others. But what happens for those that gambling is not an option? This is a subject that many problem gamblers are aware of, but under these extraordinary circumstances, the real struggle to prevent a relapse begins.

For those caught in a crossfire, there are still options to cope with gambling relapse while staying at home. They aren’t any magic bullet, but with the right attitude, and support, they can help problem gamblers in recovery to successfully pass this trial.


Gamstop Self-Exclusion

This is the most sought resource for problem gamblers. Being unable to access to online gambling sites definitely helps to keep your recovery and finances stable during the coronavirus confinement:

  1. It only requires registering a new account with your local self-exclusion schemes like the Swedish SpelPaus or the UK Gamstop. Once the details are completed you set the exclusion period which can range from 1 month to 5 years depending on the scheme.
  2. If you have money in gambling accounts self-exclusion does not make you unable to retrieve them. Contact your gambling providers to put back that money where you really need it.
  3. Is important to double-check that you are unable to undo Gamstop via removal process and access casino operators so you might add another layer of protection to keep progressing in your recovery.


Removing Advertising Spam Traps

Social distancing has made people hook on their phones and computers for more than the necessary time in order to kill time. Problem gamblers are very vulnerable to unethical advertising practices from illegal and even legit online gambling operators.

Email, social media, SMS and whatever source of contact is used to constantly getting bombarded with advertising and offers. Stress and that kind of pressure can be a mix for disaster.

Start unsubscribing from their email listings, (do it with a companion to avoid temptations). Unfollow, remove and block all those gambling-related Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter contacts and groups to avoid any more distraction from your recovery.


Use Gambling Protection Software

Specialized gambling protection software offers you the necessary coverage to shield you from a gambling relapse. These are very easy to install and go unnoticed while blocking any possible threat. No matter if you use private browsing VPNs, or try to uninstall it, and even make a factory reset on your device, they will make a stand for you. Think about them as your personal bodyguard/counsellor.

Unlike many programs that work only on keywords, real gambling protection software filters the wheat from the straw., This means that if you search the “gambling recovery tip”. the app will only block active gambling content while allowing you to access the right content.

Apps like Qustodio, Betfilter, Gamblock, Betblocker, and old favourite NetNanny, are affordable, work over several platforms like Window, Mac, iOS, Android, with many of them offering a free trial period.


Board Game Placebos

Problem gamblers had their brain wired to only being rewarded with the risk factor of not knowing if they are going to lose small or win big. Of course, this is a very simple way to said it but it put us in perspective.

Board games have a lot of benefits. They help to vent stress out, train your brain’s analytic thought and are great to build stronger bonds with family members and friends under the current situation.

Games like Ludo or Monopoly involves social interaction and help gamblers in recovery to see the better aspect of gaming over the win/lose factor and help them to make a positive transition.


Weed out Toxic Relationships

If there is something good about Coronavirus is that you have put a wall against those that have negatively influenced your life. How much of these people have asked about your wellbeing? How much of them only contact you to spare some cash for another bet?


If you are unable to say no to these leeches, just block them. There is no possible way they can harm you without risking themselves by getting sick or fined from breaking the quarantine.

This is a very hard step for some, but with “friends like them, who need enemies?


Video Logs

Facing a mirror can be a hard thing to do. However, it only offers a glimpse of what is happening and people can easily run away from it.

Having a daily record of your situation offers the out-of-the-box perspective you need. Feelings of loneliness, fear, anger or joy and fulfilment can be steamed out and caught on film, allowing you to analyze them, and see the pitfalls and advances of your own battles.

Sharing you video logs about your problem gambling recovery can inspire other people in the same situation than you. Start small with supportive friends and family, they are the ones who best know you, and the ones able to say what you need to hear.


Online Support Groups

Many problem gamblers feel alone, as the criticism of their condition makes them ostracized forcing them to keep for themselves. A condition enhanced with this forced lockdown. If you fill the profile you can benefit from online support groups.

These organizations like their presidential counterparts offer continuous counselling, live group sessions with professional counsellors and content that can provide you with the necessary feedback to keep your head up, and on the right tracks.

Of course several of these sites are paid and the subscription is quite pricey. There are some free options,  but unfortunately, the waiting list can be long. In both cases, you can get an idea about their services by checking the articles they post and contacting support.

The following sites in the UK provide counselling services and group sessions for free:


Finally, Take a Decision

With the world economy half stopped and the uncertainty as to our only reference for the future, it has become mandatory to pass the page and live the present.

As problem gambler IN recovery, stress for lockdown adds another layer of difficulty to keep walking a straight path. In the current crossroads we face, there are three options:

  1. Falling back in our steps, living again with destructive behaviour.
  2. Pursuing new ways to escape reality (something used with gambling).
  3. Face the situation and take this unique opportunity to cement all your progress and recover your true self.


For which one you will take the step?


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