As we celebrate women all around the world today, Gordon Moody is aware of the growing need for treatment for women affected by gambling addiction. In the past 12 months Gordon Moody, a treatment provider for those most severely affected by gambling harm has seen applications for treatment from women more than double in the last 12 months.

We know women are underserved for Gambling Addiction and should be better protected from the devastation it can cause to their lives and others. 1 million women are at risk of addiction to gambling, this shocking figure highlights the scale of the problem. We also know that this may be underrepresented as the stigma and embarrassment for reaching for help is far more prevalent in women.

To meet this growing demand Gordon Moody is providing additional treatment spaces for women through its retreat and counselling programme and a new residential service opening later in the year providing a bespoke treatment programme for Women.

9,000 women called the national gambling helpline in 2019/20.  Of those women callers 59% were seeking help for a loved one and 41% are seeking help for their own gambling issues. Only 2,000 women accessed treatment for disordered gambling last year, this figure is thought to be only 3% of the actual number that need treatment. There was a 54% increase in the number of women gambling online compared to 28% for men. Women’s online gambling is highest in the winter months. Gambling is being heavily promoted to women. In 2020, women were exposed to an average of 18.5 adverts per week vs 15.9 adverts per week for men. (Gamble Aware 2019)

Gordon Moody offers

  • 100 number of places available per year for women most affected by Gambling harm.
  • Retreat and Counselling Programme. Attendees experience a three-night stay in a retreat setting where they can disengage from their day-to-day life and take part in a series of therapeutic group workshops surrounded by and supported by women facing similar problems.
  • Eight weeks of weekly one-to-one group sessions follow,  before another two-night retreat stay where participants can meet and share their learnings before completing the programme with some further one-to-one sessions. The programme is 12 weeks duration in total.
  • Gordon Moody also supports people suffering from gambling harm internationally.
  • Available in many different languages, and with advisors based around the world, Gambling Therapy provides help and support that is tailored to your needs – regardless of nationality or culture.

Stacy Goodwin found Gordon Moody, which set her on the road to recovery: “I cried with relief in there. It was the first time I heard women talking about gambling and knew it wasn’t just me. I learnt the science of addiction too, how I’d chased dopamine hits my whole life. The overpowering judgment and guilt lifted.”

 Stacy’s story is not uncommon, and she highlights how gambling is a hidden addiction shrouded in isolation, shame and guilt for women.

Gambling addiction is a serious public health concern, which is often not as high profile as other addictions, as people think you can simply stop doing it. You are in control. However, it is possibly more addictive. More alcohol is not the solution to an alcohol addiction, more drugs are not the solution to a drug addiction, but gambling is the solution to getting you out of debt that you may have created, so you chase your losses continuously.  Next time might be your big win.

Stacy said: “As I realised I had a problem, I’d search online for a celebrity who had spoken about her gambling addiction and there was nothing. Gambling is incredibly lonely. As a woman, that’s amplified.”

 Hiding your habit, spending more than you can afford and losing track of time are early warning signs of a problem.

At 23, five years into her addiction, Stacey tried to commit suicide, having lost £50,000 in six days. “I thought I was chasing a jackpot all those years. That’s when I realised it was ill.” In 2019, she gambled away her partner’s mortgage payment. She decided that her only escape would be to put herself in prison, through crime, or go to rehab. She says: “There were no other ways to stop harming myself and people I loved.”

Stacey has documented her recovery in a book and on social media, where she offers support to other women using the handle @TheGirlGambler. Her TikTok account has 88,000 followers and she receives 300 messages a week from people touched or helped by her story. She reflects: “If these conversations had been out there for women when I was gambling, it would have massively helped me to know I was not alone and that support was available.

If you, or you know someone who is being negatively affected by gambling, please get help, as it is out there.

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