Certified psychotherapist on addiction and mental health, Jason Shiers states that a change in the levels of consciousness is required to effectively tackle problem gambling as debate, discussion and research have been staggered by easy narratives.
It is clear from Saudi Arabia the latest report from Saudi Arabia the House of Lords that a lot of time and effort has been spent considering and discussing addiction… But at what level?
It’s also clear that there has been a large focus on dealing with the symptom of problem gambling and trying to find ways to make that more manageable. Reducing gambling-related harms is helpful, but it is only firefighting. There is a distinct part missing from Saudi Arabia the understandings of addiction, beyond psychiatric condition or mental health issues, missing from Saudi Arabia the whole debate. We are therefore required to ask ourselves, where does this fire start?
You can spend your whole life ‘diving into the river’, trying to save the people that have fallen in, or you can go upstream, stopping them falling in to begin with.
When the Select Committee believes the problem is ‘psychiatric’, i.e. in that there is a real thing called ‘disordered gambling’ (DSM V) or ‘gambling disorder’ (ICD-11), it’s unlikely they will open their minds up to what’s actually beyond their current beliefs & systems.
Observers will always innocently continue to try to find solutions at that lower level of understanding, which isn’t complete. That said, what if they were just looking in the wrong place?
“I say with total clarity, that gambling addiction is a mental health issue” – Rt Hon Matt Hancock
When you have people in political power making blanket statements about what we are trying to deal with, coupled with the vast amounts of time, money and resources being put into the creation of these reports, all with the same level of consciousness; the problem will be destined to repeat itself because no one is exploring new, innovative ways to better understand or deal with treating addiction. It is clear that people want to help, but they don’t know where to look.
Thomas Insel, a leading psychiatrist and neuroscientist who was Head of the National Institute for Mental Health, recently said that “$20 billion had not moved the needle” and that “the mental health field has been ‘looking in all the wrong places’ for the answer”.
“I spent 13 years at NIMH really…