Health Care Education Needed to Help Problem Gambling

Published Wednesday, October 18, 2017 -
Health Care Education Needed to Help Problem Gambling

The problem of bad gambling habits has been left out of the health services educational loop for some time and the industry needs to do more.  The issues of the past which were drugs and alcohol received the attention of the research funders but gambling remained a tolerated habit that goes unnoticed.

The introduction of online gambling gives the gambling addicted individual an extra layer of privacy away from prying eyes which has caused a surge in the problem gambling statistics. The recently article in the U.K.’s Guardian news points to this issue directly saying there is an estimated 400,000 problem gamblers in the UK.

Consultant psychiatrist at the National Problem Gambling Clinic, Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, commented to the paper that a lack of training among healthcare professionals could have something to do with problem gambling being underestimated. Bowden-Jones said, “Even as an addictions psychiatrist, we weren’t taught about pathological gambling, I came across it by chance.”

Bowden-Jones said, “Physically, we see people who are very underweight because they’re not eating  either because they’re gambling or because they haven’t the money to do so. Addicts aren’t healthy because they sit in front of a screen at home. You can imagine the consequences of not moving for months or years on end.”

Support charity GambleAware saw 8,800 clients last year, obviously only a fraction of the estimates reported that problem gamblers are not accessing treatment and they do not know how to access help. Director of commissioning at the charity, Dr. Jane Rigbye says, “Although the impacts are as detrimental to family life, development and health, the kudos it’s given by other professionals isn’t as high as other addictions, partly because there’s no clear pathway for treating someone with a gambling problem.”

Healthcare professionals should be given more information as to how to help the people with gambling issues “They have the skills to deal with this,” Dr.Rigbye added, “They just need to have some awareness of where to push people for help.”



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