Gambling Addiction Treatment
A gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, is an impulse-control disorder that has been a long-standing worldwide problem, affecting a wide range of individuals within various age groups. In the U.S. alone, 2%-5% of Americans struggle with gambling addictions. Individuals who suffer from this addiction experience the same effects from gambling that a drug or alcohol addict does when using their substance of choice. Compulsive gamblers are unable to control their urge for gambling, even when they know it's hurting themselves, a loved one, or their bank account.
Unlike a drug addict or alcoholic, a gambling addict typically won't show any physical signs or symptoms of use. Because of this, it can be considered a "hidden illness", but a gambling addiction can be just as serious as any other addiction. Gambling addictions involve compulsive gambling without thinking of any consequences, such as spending money, losing expensive bets, or hurting a loved one. Types of gambling involve betting on sports, scratch cards, poker, roulette, horse or dog racing, lottery tickets, dice throwing and bingo. The gambler becomes addicted to the rush of the possible chance to win a sum of money, which can range anywhere from 25 to thousands of dollars. A gambling addiction can cause drastic damage to the individual's life and financial well-being. Someone who is addicted to gambling may take their entire paycheck to the casino and gamble it all away without thinking of other expenses such as rent or bills.
- Lying about the amount of money or time spent on gambling
- Using gambling as an escape from problems, anxiety, depression, or feelings of sadness
- Mind constantly wrapped around gambling, experiences with gambling, as well as coming up with ways to get more and more money to gamble with
- Feeling that they must gamble more money to recover previous losses
- Gambling with larger amounts of money in order to recreate the rush they felt previously
- Borrows money from friends or family in order to cover a gambling loss
- Stealing or participating in illegal activities to acquire more money with which to gamble
- Feeling edgy or irritable when cutting back on gambling
- Failed attempts at cutting back or quitting
- Loss of a job, relationship, education, or career opportunity because of gambling
A gambling addiction, like other emotional conditions, is believed to be the result of a combination of biological factors. There are, however, other causes that increase the likelihood of an individual developing a gambling addiction, such as pre-existing conditions like mood swings, antisocial personality disorders, schizophrenia, and other substance addictions.
There are a number treatment options for someone struggling with a gambling addiction. Each addiction is different with varying levels of severity, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. However, there are plenty of options to help you or a loved one get back on track to a healthy and gamble-free lifestyle. Different treatment options for a gambling addiction include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT helps patients quit their gambling addiction by systematically helping to change the way the individual thinks and behave. This can be done by one-on-one sessions or group therapy, but it is strongly recommended that patients participate in both types of therapy to get the best treatment possible and reduce the risk of relapse.
- Dual-Diagnosis: When a person is suffering from multiple addictive problems, Dual-Diagnosis is a great program for them to take advantage of. It's a hybrid of both mental care and well as addictive disorder care. Patients are able to get help for all of their problems, and they are attacked as a complete package in order to help patients come out on the other side better for it, on the side of living free from addiction and living long and happy lives.
- Outpatient Rehab: By partaking in outpatient treatment, patients are able to receive proper treatment for their addiction while going about their daily lives while still receiving the help that they need.
- Inpatient Rehab: Unlike outpatient treatment, inpatient treatment sets patients up in a controlled facility to ensure that they won't be tempted by any environmental settings that could cause them to relapse, such as casinos, racetracks, and even online gambling. Inpatient rehab programs can range anywhere from 30 days to a year.
- 12-Step Programs: 12-step programs are offered for individuals who can't afford the expenses of inpatient and outpatient treatment programs or want to try a different method of treatment. These programs give individuals a chance to interact with other addicts as well as individuals who have successfully completed treatment. 12-step programs will help the patient gain a better understanding on the dangers of compulsive gambling and aid them on the path towards recovery. These groups offer a supportive environment where the individual can receive words of encouragement to help them stay on the track towards a gamble-free lifestyle.
Do you or a loved one struggle with a gambling addiction? Call The Treatment Helpline today for a FREE consultation. Let us get you back on the road to a life that is free from addiction.