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Clinic for problem gamblers opens

A dedicated NHS problem gambling clinic is opening in London for a year-long trial.

Staff at the National Problem Gambling Clinic in Soho include psychiatrists, psychologists, family therapists, debt management experts from the Citizens Advice Bureau and other specialist therapists.

The multidisciplinary clinic will be trialled for 12 months but has already attracted a high level of interest, the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust said.

Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, the clinic's lead Consultant Psychiatrist, added: "We have developed a unique treatment package to address specific difficulties that are common to problem gamblers.

"Due to the nature of their addiction, gamblers' finances are often in bad shape, so an important part of treatment is to tackle debt management and employment issues.

"We also address the needs of clients' partners and family members who have been affected by their gambling disorder and any co-existing mental health conditions such as depression."

Help with debt management will be offered, along with treatments involving motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy.

Figures released last year by the Gambling Commission show that more than 250,000 people in Britain are classed as problem gamblers – around 0.6% of the adult population.

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Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust