Treating Gambling Addiction

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Gambling-Addiction-061909LGambling addiction is a growing problem around the world and has been receiving more attention in part to the growth of online gaming worldwide.  Gambling addiction is any type of gambling behavior that causes problems in a person’s life.  These problems do not have to be financial in nature.  Any type of gambling that negatively impacts one’s social, personal, or professional life can be considered as problem gambling.  Fortunately, there are treatments available for problem gamblers.  Let’s take a look at some below.

Group Support

Once a problem gambler recognizes they have a problem, one popular form of treatment is enrollment in a recovery program such as Gamblers Anonymous.  It is a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous but focused on the needs of problem gamblers.  Just about every major city in the world has some form of GA program.  One key component of GA is the use of a sponsor.  A sponsor is a person that has been through the same problem as the recovering addict and can help them on their road to recovery.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

For some, GA is just not enough.  These individuals may be helped through cognitive-behavioral therapy.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a process where a person essentially learns to retrain their though processes in regards to gambling and also how to deal with problems in a more healthy way than gambling.  This is done through weekly sessions with a therapist where they teach patients how to change their thinking and beliefs about gambling and teaching the patient different strategies with dealing with problems and stress.

Medication

For some patients, gambling addiction may alter brain chemistry.  This can lead to attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, and depression.  In other patients, their gambling addiction may be a symptom of a condition such as ADD or bipolar disorder.  These conditions can fuel gambling addictions and are typically treated with medication.  Anti-depressants and mood stabilizers coupled with other treatment can be the key to some patients breaking out of their gambling addictions.

Self Exclusion

A major part of a recovering gamblers treatment should include self-exclusion from casinos in their general area, and online if applicable.  Self-exclusion is simply the process of telling a gambling establishment to ban you from the property due to a gambling problem.  These properties will comply with the request and prevent you from playing at their property or website.

The above treatments are key to helping a problem gambler overcome their gambling addiction.  Millions around the world enjoy responsible gambling, but some need a little extra help when their entertainment overtakes their lives.  If you notice signs of problem gambling in yourself or someone else, recognized that a problem exist and get help.