Gambling Addiction Treatment

Gambling addiction treatment is required when a person has no idea what his or her compulsive addiction is doing to family and friends. As long as there is a chance at winning, a compulsive gambler will bet on how many flies land on the nose of a cow in the next sixty seconds. There is no end, no boundary to what or much will be bet and certainly every sport and every other bet able situation is up for a wager. For the person caught in an addiction such as a wagering one, the person will be consumed twenty four hours a day with the next bet to be made. There are at least a couple of different kinds of motivations for immersing oneself in betting compulsively: one is for the thrill and the other is to forget. In most cases, those who love the thrill of the big gamble will gravitate towards the high spectator events and card games with others who love to wager. For those who gamble to forget about their own pain, online games and individual slot machines are more of their interest.

It's estimated that over two million Americans have a compulsion to wager that cannot be stopped. According to gambling addiction treatment experts it takes almost four years for a person to become addicted to table games and sports betting while only a year's span is needed to entrap a person involved in electronic gambling games. Slot machines and video poker are called the crack cocaine of the gambling world. For a person to be considered an addicted gambler, there are certain criteria that must be met. The first is preoccupation with gambling, followed by tolerating gambling which means the gambler needs more and more money to satisfy the urge. These are followed by lying to loved ones, loss of control and even illegal activities to support the addiction. The person trained in gambling addiction treatment must understand that all of these swirling issues may be a part of each client he or she sees.

One might be tempted to wonder why a person that is addicted to gambling doesn't just stop and walk away. Gamblers Anonymous, a gambling addiction treatment group says that will power is not enough break the cycle of addiction. Interestingly but not surprisingly, this world wide group says that belief in a higher power is needed in order to overcome a strong compulsion to gamble. The Christian has been promised that the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is available for handling all of life's strangleholds on us. "That I might know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings being made conformable unto his death." (Philippians 3:10)

When a person addicted to gambling finally hits rock bottom and begins to see the consequences of his or her compulsion, then gambling addiction treatment can begin. The truly sad fact is that often marriages have already ended, children are alienated, debts are astronomical and life is truly on the skids before that realization sets in. But it is in that realization that effective treatment can begin, and it usually begins with an assessment of where the patient is psychologically. An assessment of what kind of gambler the person is will be an important part of the approach that will be used in recovery. But the main thrust of any gambling addiction treatment will be the inclusion of group therapy.

There may be some deep underlying psychological reasons for a person acting out their disorders in a compulsive manner, and that will take the expertise of a psychiatrist at a gambling addiction treatment center to address. But many gamblers will respond quickly and positively to the dynamics of group therapy. This is one of the strengths of Gamblers Anonymous in which men and women who are fighting compulsive behaviors actually confront each other's attitudes, values and decision making processes. No persone can spot a con, an excuse or brag about gambling successes better than another gambler. And no person can confront a gambler's state of mind like another gambler. This is one of the reasons Gamblers Anonymous and other treatment centers have a good track record of treating gambling addictions.

But in concert with group therapy will also come some one on one psychotherapy which will be cognitive-behavioral in scope. Psychotherapy is counseling that seeks to help a client recognize dysfunctional and self destructive thought patterns and to craft on his or her own different ways to make decisions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, part of gambling addiction treatment seeks to show gamblers that it is not the fault of other people or things or circumstances that cause us to think the way we do. Psychotherapy desires to make a person realize that he is responsible for his actions and not the fault of someone else. This approach can be very helpful in the recovery process of the addictive gambler.

Any addiction touches not only the person addicted but the circles of family and friends around the addict. A person cannot look in the mirror and honestly say that he or she is not hurting anyone else with their self-destructive behavior. But getting a person to that honest state is at the heart of addiction treatment. Denying reality is the most difficult part of addictive behavior to overcome and the longer it continues, the more people are hurt and the more destruction financially, emotionally and spiritually. If you have a loved one who is bound in such an addiction, make sure to care of yourself; seek counseling, a support group and share your pain with God. He is there and He cares deeply about you and your loved ones.

Gambling Addiction Help

Gambling addiction help is available through special facilities as well as public meetings. In general, the person requiring assistance will not admit to the problem due in part to self-concept and the effects of this mental illness. The initial habit may start out innocently, however the outcome is not always a positive experience. This disease affects not only the person who gambles, but also all the people surrounding this person including family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and the general public. The general public is affected by the $5 billion lost annually through unemployment benefits, credit cards, bankruptcy, and embezzlement. It is thought that $40 billion are lost over the lifetime of gambling costs due to productivity reductions, social services, and credit losses. In addition, prisons fill up and public services are consumed with these people therefore denying truly needy people. Gambling addiction treatment may include intervention of the family, counseling, complete removal from society and access to money by way of rehabilitation programs, and financial counseling.

There are many reasons a person may get caught up in the act of gambling: financial gain, fun, stress relief, and hobby. Though these reasons seem innocent, their actions quickly turn sour due to the nature of the event. Once a person wins significant money once the general belief is that more money will be won in the future, which is not usually the case. Gambling addiction help may determine the underlying reason for participation in such activity. From these reasons a therapist or friend can suggest a variety of healthy alternatives such as financial counseling, marriage counseling, and the introduction of new hobbies. As a result of betting habits, a person may also be subject to participating with other bad habits such as drinking, smoking, drug use, lying, cheating, and stealing. Because these other habits may cost a lot of money the need to gamble more becomes urgent thus creating momentum in a downward spiral of multiple problems requiring gambling addiction treatment. More than 80% of people with addiction problems are recorded as having suicidal thoughts, but only 10% have attempted any effort. The irony of the situation lies in the fact that most people become involved with these activities due to the lack of control the current life provides by simply replacing it with out of control behavior. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10)

In general there are three phases of gamblers: winning, losing, and desperation. The winning phase is the most innocent, but also leads to the most destructive thoughts about monetary gain. While a person may simply go to the casino for enjoyment, thoughts of what a certain amount of money could do to change their life may develop. The idea of solving monetary problems may be very tempting as well as inconsistent with the events of normal daily life. When a person wins consecutive times a certain confidence develops, however when that same person starts losing then the need to win becomes an obsession. More likely than not the money won previously has been spent either to pay bills, to purchase new items, or to put down payments on new items. In any event the money being spent on betting is probably required to pay bills of some sort so when its lost the need for additional gain becomes urgent. Gambling addiction help may come in the form of friends and family helping to pay bills as long as no additional betting takes place. This opportunity will only work for people in early stages as well as the absence of other mental illness. However, professional financial planning or psychiatric assistance as a gambling addiction treatment option may be beneficial to long-term wellness of the individual. If gambling addiction treatment does not occur early then the stage of desperation may occur. This is most commonly when gamblers think of suicide, however it can occur in other stages as well. Outsiders identify this stage by the increased amount of time gambling, outward expression of anger, and depression. Professional counseling is required for this level of gambler, which can be located by looking in the yellow pages or asking friends for a reference.

Choosing a quality program for recovery should be the job of a friend or family member. The stress of the problem itself is all the gambler can handle. When evaluating gambling addiction help resources there are many things to consider beyond cost and location. The program chosen should be trained in the recovery of gamblers. Due to the unique nature of the problem, which is different than substance abuse, certain knowledge and resources are required. In addition, find out the methods of treatment and the general goals in the minds of the counselors. Finding a perfect match may take some time, however personal efforts are better than no help at all. Enrolling in a program that does not offer continued support or medication options may only offer short term solutions. Finding people who have participated successfully in a program may offer a good place to start. These people can offer pros and cons of the program they chose and what they wish was done differently. Generally a mix between professional and relational assistance produces the best outcomes. This means dedicated support from family and friends with the assistance of professional resources in order to initially overcome the problem.

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