Christmas is a time for celebration. A chance to relax from the pressures of normal life, spend time with the family and show people you love them.

However for people with a gambling addiction, Christmas can also be a very hard time in their recovery. Christmas and gambling relapse sometimes go hand-in-hand so if you are new to recovery, it’s important to be prepared. Being aware of gambling addiction triggers and how to deal with them during this busy time is vital to keeping yourself on the right path.

Find out more about common Christmas triggers for gambling addiction and the warning signs of relapse here.


Causes of Gambling Addiction

If you are a loved one or friend of a gambling addict, you may find it hard to understand why a person would become addicted. Gambling is a behavioural addiction, there is no physical side but can quickly ensnare a person – leading to destructive consequences.

There are no set causes for a gambling addiction, but many factors can increase the risk of it happening.


Someone exposed to gambling when they are younger is more likely to try it. If you are surrounded by friends and family who gamble, you will dabble, believing there is no harm in it. Also, fractious work and home life and money problems may lead you to gamble.


Some people may be more genetically predisposed to gambling. If you are a competitive person by nature, impulsive, easily bored or restless then you may be more likely to develop a gambling addiction.

Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is when you have co-occurring problems, such as a gambling addiction and alcoholism. Gambling can be used as a coping method to deal with mental health issues and substance abuse problems.


The Festive Season: A High-Risk Period for Gambling Relapse

This time of year provides a perfect storm for problem gamblers. The end of the year brings with it an avalanche of things to deal with – tying up things at work, preparing for family get-togethers, organising yourself for next year. All these things make the festive season a high-risk period for a recovering gambler to relapse.

Intentional or not, people heap pressure on Christmas, which is why there is a strong link between addiction and Christmas. Adverts tell you what you should buy, what a real Christmas looks like and how to have fun. People have different expectations of celebration and what is expected of them.

This time of year will have you going in many directions as you attend work outings, shop for others and spend time with family. This pressure can build and build, making coping with a gambling addiction very difficult.

You’re meant to be having fun and if you’re not then you can be made to feel as if you are the problem.

Festive season gambling is so big because of all the offers. This period is prime time for sports betting, with sports, especially football, cramming games into a short amount of time. Gambling companies use this time to present tempting offers to the public and the cure to all your worries is just one bet away.


Identifying Christmas Triggers for Gambling Addiction

During this time of year, it is important to be vigilant and aware of Christmas triggers for a gambling addiction. Knowing potential triggers can help you navigate a hard period of the year without relapsing.


Not everyone will spend Christmas with loads of family and friends. If you are spending most of the time alone, then this can be dangerous for your addiction. Silence and time alone give you time to think over things and it may make it hard to ignore the part of your brain that wants to gamble.

Financial Stress

Christmas often means spending money. Buying presents for your family and friends and providing ample food and drink will cost a lot of money. Especially with the cost-of-living crisis, getting by during this time of year is harder than ever. If you are struggling with gambling then you may think that gambling your way out of trouble is the best method.

Increased Social Activities Involving Betting or Gambling

If you are a fan of sports, Christmas can mean attending football matches you don’t normally attend. The darts are very big in the run-up to Christmas with the World Championships.

Both these situations are rife for betting and gambling. It can be hard to avoid these types of events, especially if you go to such events for the social aspect as well.


Common Warning Signs of a Gambling Relapse

If you are worried about relapsing or someone else you know slipping back into gambling, it’s important to know the warning signs of gambling relapse. By knowing what to look out for, you give yourself a better chance of preventing a relapse.

Becoming More Withdrawn – If you pull away from others and have no interest in social activities and hobbies then this can be a bad sign. If someone is becoming more focused on what is going on in sports and going away to check scores, then this is another warning sign.

Lying – If a person is lying more about what they’re doing with their time, then this can mean a relapse is in the offing. Lies could also relate to where money is going, rather than the buying of presents or Christmas items.

Thinking Relapse is a Given – Overconfidence can lead to a relapse but so can pessimism. If you believe that relapse is inevitable then it is more likely to happen.


Strategies to Cope with Festive Triggers

There are many ways to deal with triggers during the festive period so that you don’t require a stint in a gambling rehab.

Seeking Support

Support for gambling addiction can come in the form of loved ones. You can also reach out to a support group that you may be a part of or even talk to a professional. It’s important to remember that help is available and you are not alone in the struggle.

Alternative Activities

The need to gamble can come out of boredom. During the lull periods over Christmas, make sure you are busy with activities and do something you enjoy or try something new. Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution and exercise or play games with loved ones.

Setting Firm Boundaries

You or a loved one may need to engage in tough love. Remove the temptations of gambling by putting finances in someone else’s hands. Don’t attend events where you think gambling may be present. Being strict with yourself can help you through this time unscathed.


Seek Professional Support for Gambling Addiction Today

If you are worried about your gambling problem over Christmas, then you should seek professional help. Asana Lodge is a rehab centre that provides expert treatments such as one-to-one therapy and group sessions.

This type of residential addiction treatment provides a person with the best chance of achieving long-term recovery. If you want to know more or how to cope with Christmas triggers for gambling, then get in touch today by calling Asana Lodge at 01908 489 421.

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