People who struggle with gambling addiction can be at risk for financial ruin, the loss
of a home or business because of debts and even the collapse of personal
relationships joker12. Fortunately, professional treatment is available. A doctor or mental
health professional can refer a person to an appropriate gambling addiction
treatment program. In addition, the person may also benefit from family therapy and
other forms of psychological counselling.
Many of the techniques used in treatment for pathological gambling are similar to
those employed in treating other disorders or addictions. In fact, the first gambling
inpatient program, started at a Veterans Administration hospital in 1972, was
modeled after a preexisting alcohol abuse treatment program. Treatment options
include specialized inpatient programs, outpatient services and self-help support
groups such as Gamblers Anonymous. The most effective treatment approaches
involve a combination of medication, psychological counseling and self-control
One of the most important components of gambling addiction treatment is to help a
person identify and cope with high-risk situations that can trigger relapse. These
might include environmental factors (e.g., being close to gambling outlets or seeing
advertising), intrapersonal discomforts such as anger, depression and boredom, and
interpersonal difficulties such as stress at work or family problems. Studies suggest
that relapse prevention treatment for gambling disorder is associated with clinically
favorable outcomes, such as a reduction in time spent gambling and in money lost.
Another aspect of a successful gambling addiction treatment plan is educating the
patient about the mechanics of the game and the risks involved in betting. This can
help a person recognize when they are playing with a house edge or when a casino
is taking advantage of them. Some therapists and psychologists specialize in
teaching these skills.
Psychological counseling can help address the underlying issues that might be
contributing to the gambling problem. For example, certain types of cognitive
behaviour therapy can address the logic behind gambling – such as beliefs about the
odds of winning and the difference between skill and luck in non-skill-based games.
Psychological therapy can also offer alternatives to gambling and ways to relieve
comorbid conditions such as anxiety or depression.
Self-control strategies might include avoiding access to gambling opportunities, such
as removing games from the household and blocking gambling websites on the
computer. Medications, such as antidepressants and anxiolytics, can be used in
conjunction with other therapies to promote the maintenance of abstinence from
gambling, particularly among people who are at risk for relapse.
Compulsive gambling can have far-reaching consequences that affect everyone in a
person’s life, including their children. Some of the most common consequences of a
gambling addiction are financial ruin, the loss of a home, bankruptcy, divorce or the
breakdown of personal relationships. Anyone who believes they have a problem with
gambling should seek professional evaluation and help. The best approach is to talk
about the issue with a physician or a licensed therapist. This will allow them to get
the help they need and avoid a downward spiral that might result in other addictions
or serious psychological ailments.