Gambling is a fun, thrilling form of entertainment. However, people easily become addicted to the thrill and quick ups and downs that gambling provides. When gambling becomes an addiction, it can threaten their family life, their careers, and their financial security. In this article you will learn all about gambling therapy, and how to stop gambling addictions.
About Gambling Addiction
When gamlbing becomes an addiction, people can win and lose thousands of dollars in a matter of hours. This becomes even more problematic when gambing becomes compulsive. Compulsive gamblers lose the ability to stop. The euphoria that comes from a big risk or win causes an urge to gamble that they cannot overcome.
An addiction is usually identified by an inability to stop, despite consequences. When gamblers become so obsessed with gambling that they are unable to stop, they have a gambling addiction. Due to the prevalence and availability of gambling in today’s modern world, the need for gambling addiction treatment has grown.
Gambling used to be only available in casinos, and race tracks, or illicitly through bookies and underground networks. However, online gambling has taken gambling to a whole new level. People can log on from anywhere in the world and place bets on just about anything. From who will be the next president, to the classic football game, betting has taken over our world.
The National Council on Problem Gambling also states that over 5 million people in America are gambling addicts. They also state that less than 10% of people with a gambling addiction will ever seek help.
Warning Signs of a Gambling Addiction
Identifying a gambling addiction can be difficult sometimes. Gambling addiction does not have as many easily identifiable characteristics as a drug addiction for example. However, there are some addictive behaviors and symptoms that can be looked for.
Signs of a gambling addiction are usually exhibited by behaviors. Hiding their gambling is one of the most common behaviors. Lying about money, hiding cash or other bank accounts, and prioritizing gambling over responsibilities and family are all examples of addictive gambling behavior.
In the early stages, gambling addiction may not appear so bad. However, gambling addictions frequently lead to severe relationship issues, financial insecurity, loss of jobs, and destroy trust. These things can prove detrimental to those struggling with a gambling addiction, but also to their family and friends.
Side Effects of Gambling Addiction
Gambling addictions have side effects. They also have negative health effects. The highs of gambling are euphoric, but the lows are depressing. This compulsive repetition of ups and downs leads to anxiety, insomnia, depression, and other issues like drug addiction.
Many people who struggle with a gambling disorder use drugs and alcohol to calm their nerves and relieve stress. Unfortunately, this self medication frequently leads to drug addiction or alcoholism combined with a preexisting addiction to gambling. This leaves the gambling addict with compounded problems that feed one another in an endless cycle.
Thankfully, there is hope. Gambling addiction is a recognized mental health condition, and treatment has proven effective. Even the Mayo Clinic recognizes and recommends treatment for gambling addictions.
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Treatment for Gambling Addiction
One of the biggest challenges with finding help for problem gamblers is getting them to admit they have a problem. Gambling addicts will deny and rationalize their gambling. However, if someone is able to admit they have a problem, treatment can be effective.
There are multiple approaches to gambling addiction treatment and therapy, but we find a combination of disciplines works best. We utilize a number of treatment modalities, medications, and support groups to help gambling addicts overcome their need to gamble. We then help identify triggers and build relapse prevention plans to facilitate long-term recovery.
Cognitive behavioral therapy and other techniques are used in individual and group settings to help identify behavior and thought patterns that lead to gambling. Medications are frequently used and found beneficial. This is because most people who struggle with problem gambling have an underlying mental health issue like OCD or depression.
Treating the underlying issues that cause people to seek out thrills from gambling helps prevent future gambling and relapse. Medications that treat anxiety, depression, and OCD are frequently used at doctors discretion to aid in treatment.
Finally, a strong support system is vital to long-term recovery from a gambling addiction. There are multiple 12-step programs today that focus on gambling addiction like gamblers anonymous, as well as other support groups that prove beneficial.
Utilizing all of these tools makes gambling addiction treatment effective. Relapse prevention and outpatient therapy are also quite effective in supporting recovery.
We treat substance abuse and mental health issues. However, we have staff that specialize in addictions like gambling and sex, that have years of experience. Our staff and therapeutic modalities are evidence based and effective.
We offer a full continuum of care and individualized treatment. This means that we offer inpatient care and medical supervision for extremely severe cases, as well as outpatient treatment for mild addictions. We also have everything in between. The most effective treatment plans usually include step-down models that acclimate people back to life after treatment.
If you or a family member is struggling with a gambling addiction, we are here to help. We know it can be difficult to ask for help, or admit there is a problem. However, we aim to help those struggling with gambling before their consequences are too severe. Call us today at (800) 817-1247