Since gambling is now legal in more places, the number of people who gamble, have gambling problems, or are addicted to gambling has gone up. In fact, did you know that 2.8% and 3.8% of adults in the US have a problem with gambling?
While most states allow some form of gambling, internet gambling has made it more accessible than ever before.
Gambling addiction treatment is in no way similar to alcohol or drug addiction. It’s also not treated in the exact same way alcohol and drug addictions are.
Even though gambling addiction is a form of impulse-control disorder and fits the classic definition of addiction, the addicted person needs highly specialized counseling and support to stop feeling the need to gamble. A treatment facility that only deals with drugs and or alcohol won’t be enough.
Do you need help with a gambling addiction? Then, read these tips to find the best ways to get over an addiction to gambling.
Gambling Addiction Treatment
Even though treatment for gambling addiction can be hard, it’s shown to work very well. Gambling addiction often co-occurs with other disorders. You treat gambling problems in three ways, therapy, medication, or self-help groups.
Gambling addiction can develop as a way to escape other issues. Gambling, for example, can provide diversion and positive emotions for people with mental illnesses. However, gaming for the sake of distraction and short-term symptom relief is likely to become addictive. Therefore, gambling and depression are two issues that need to be discussed in treatment.
When you treat depression in a person, the urge to gamble often fades. However, if depression is not treated, compulsive gambling is likely to return. And vice versa, depression can occur as a result of gambling addiction. This usually happens when a person starts to feel the effects of their gambling.
Anxiety and gambling go hand in hand. When a gambling addiction becomes uncontrollable, many suffer from anxiety. Anxiety can arise from both desire to gamble and fear of the consequences. Therefore, treatment for gambling disorder and anxiety must address both conditions.
Treating Gambling Addiction With Therapy
Gambling addiction therapy works well. However, for gambling therapy to work, the person must admit they have a gambling problem. Therefore, the first few sessions of gambling counseling will likely be about accepting the bad habits that come with gambling.
The focus of cognitive-behavioral therapy for gambling addiction is on the interrelationship of:
- Your thoughts
- Your feelings, and
- Your actions
The person’s wrong ideas about gambling are put to the test and replaced by newer, more accurate ideas. The person’s false beliefs about gambling are put to the test and replaced by newer, more accurate ideas.
For people who are compulsive gamblers, cognitive-behavioral therapy can reduce their desire to gamble by teaching them new skills and how to handle the urges.
Treating Gambling Addiction With Medication
Often, people addicted to gambling also have other problems such as mood disorders and depression. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration states that:
- 50 percent of gamblers have had a mood disorder
- 41.3 percent have had an anxiety disorder, and
- 60.8 percent have had a personality disorder
Even though medication is not a way to stop gambling, per se, it can help people who are addicted to gambling and have one of the above disorders.
By taking care of the depression, the urge to gamble may also go away. This is particularly true for people who gamble to get away from their depressive feelings.
Some narcotic antagonists have also been shown to help people addicted to gambling. When the medicine is used to treat drug or alcohol addiction, it makes people less likely to want to use it. This has also helped cut down on the urges to gamble in some cases.
How to Control Your Gambling Urges
The rush of a big win can become addictive, but the odds aren’t always in your favor.
There are several ways to learn to control one‘s urges to gamble. First of all, it can be helpful to figure out what causes these urges. Then, these situations that make you feel bad can be avoided or dealt with differently.
Finding Other Interests Other Than Gambling
Gamblers are constantly thinking of the next bet they want to make. Finding new things to do and activities to distract you when you want to gamble is essential to getting better. This will help you feel better about yourself and more confident.
It’s essential to keep oneself occupied and avoid becoming bored.
Join a Support Group
Individuals can seek gambling self-help through support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous. Their 12-step programs are based on the Alcoholics Anonymous program but tailored to problem gambling. In addition, anyone genuinely interested in tackling gambling-related issues can join for free.
Don’t Despair Contact a Gambling Addiction Hotline
Even if a person attends gambling support groups regularly, they may require emergency support at times. This is where a gambling addiction hotline comes in helpful.
Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the National Council on Problem Gambling’s 24-hour helpline.
Book Yourself Into a Program at a Rehab Center
It’s not shameful to seek help for any problem you may be suffering from. Support is always at hand; it’s just a matter of asking for it. Search for a recovery clinic with gambling-specific treatment programs.
Their staff is highly trained to deal with addictions and help you get better.
Don’t Delay Help Is Never Far Away!
Whether you, a loved one, or a friend is suffering from a gambling addiction, there is help available to you or them always. The treatment of gambling addiction has a high rate of success.
Don’t put off getting help for another day. Are you looking for gambling addiction treatment centers in California to help you overcome your addiction?
Contact us and one of our helpful intake consultants to get started on the road to gambling sobriety right away. However, please note that we don’t accept Medi-Cal at this time but do accept self-pay options.