The issue of stigma surrounding gambling addiction poses a significant barrier to individuals seeking timely support for their struggles. Liam Colebrook, a 40-year-old former problem gambler from Ripley in Derbyshire, UK, is actively challenging these stigmas by advocating for open discussions about gambling addiction. Describing himself as being on a “one-man crusade,” Colebrook aims to break the silence surrounding this issue and encourage more people to seek professional assistance, aligning with the efforts of several prominent gambling-related charities.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Colebrook shared his personal journey, revealing the challenges he faced, including divorce, financial losses, and mental health struggles. He emphasised the societal normalisation of gambling, making it difficult for individuals to recognize when their habits cross into addiction territory. Despite experiencing significant losses, both financially and emotionally, Colebrook hid his addiction from loved ones until seeking help through two stints in rehab.

Through his story, Colebrook dismantles the misconception that willpower alone can overcome gambling addiction, stressing the importance of open dialogue and seeking support. He urges empathy and reassures others that recovery is possible with the right assistance.

Meanwhile, organisations like GamCare report a surge in calls to their National Gambling Helpline, indicating an increasing awareness of the issue. However, stigma remains a significant barrier to timely assistance, with many individuals fearing negative judgement from others. As individuals like Colebrook bravely share their experiences, the hope is that it will spark broader conversations, reduce stigma, and encourage more people to seek help. Alongside organisations like GambleAware, which actively campaigns against stigma, there’s a growing effort to raise awareness and provide support to those affected by gambling addiction. Effective regulations are also deemed essential to protect individuals from falling into addiction traps.

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