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NHS doctors should ask people about harmful gambling

6 October 2023
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Press release: Doctors should ask people seeking mental health support about gambling in the same way as they ask about drugs or alcohol, CARE has said.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has suggested that patients visiting NHS services in England for depression, anxiety, self-harm or suicide could be at a greater risk of harmful gambling.

Tim Cairns, a gambling policy expert at the charity CARE, commented:

“Whilst similar in its effects to other addictions, harmful gambling often goes undiagnosed. With substance addiction, there are visible signs that a person needs help. Harmful gambling has no discernible physical signs.

“This serious issue often only becomes recognisable when certain, harmful patterns become pervasive in an individual’s life. Tragically, loved ones sometimes only realise the extent of the issues when it’s too late.

“Given the impact of harmful gambling on a person’s relationships, job, and mental health, it needs to be treated as a public health issue. Ensuring GPs take a proactive approach is a vital step in getting people the help they need.”


Notes for Editors

CARE is a social policy charity, bringing Christian insight to the policies and laws that affect our lives. Contact us:

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While for some, gambling is just harmless fun, for a significant minority it causes genuine devastation. Our vision is to see laws passed that will help protect vulnerable problem gamblers.

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