Treatment for Gambling Addiction

Treatment for Gambling Addiction


Gambling addiction is a problem affecting over seven million Americans. The urge to gamble is so powerful that many gambling addicts will resort to illegal activity or immoral behavior to fuel the addiction. Gambling addiction is not about money or the lack of resources to fund gambling activities. There are many gambling addicts who are multi-millionaires. Many years ago, the gambling addict was characterized as the person who was seen as a degenerate lacking ambition or goals and concerned only with a “big score.” Today, gambling addicts include stay at home moms, educators, doctors, and others. Gambling addiction knows no boundaries in terms of gender or socioeconomic status. When a person decides to stop gambling, there are treatment options available.


Many gambling addicts will attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings to find social support without judgment. There are thousands of 12-step meetings available to the gambling addict each day and at various times. There are even GA meetings in different languages. Twelve-step recovery is a place where one can share their experiences, strengths, and hopes with others in order to achieve abstinence from gambling activity. Research has found that social support is vital for recovery from gambling addiction. No one should recover on their own and this is one of the strengths of GA–you do not need to go this alone.


Gambling addiction is known as a process addiction, meaning there is no chemical dependency on a substance such as alcohol or drugs. Gambling addicts are said to have a psychological dependence on gambling. There is some truth to this statement as the gambler believes that certain thoughts or fallacies will help them to be a more successful gambler. These gamblers’ fallacies include, “I can win if I play on certain machines” or “I lost at that casino last week so this week I will be lucky.” These thoughts related to gambling are never true. They are what the mind has made up to keep the gambler in action. These negative thoughts can destroy the gambling addict. Some individuals find therapy helpful in changing these negative thoughts to more positive ones.


Many gambling addicts will self-exclude themselves from casinos in their area. This has shown to be successful for some addicts; however, the issue is that a gambler can travel to other states or cities or gamble on the Internet. For the short term, self-exclusion does show a decrease in gambling activity.


The important thing for a gambling addict to recognize is that support is necessary for sustained abstinence from gambling activity. Support can be found through 12-step meetings, individual or group therapy, religious organizations, or just having family and friends support you in your recovery. However support is found, the gambling addict can benefit from having friends, social groups, and family around throughout recovery.

An integrative approach to treatment is necessary for healing the mind, the body, and the spirit from the effects of addiction, trauma, and mental health. Cottonwood Tucson offers critically acclaimed clinical care for men, women, and adolescents. Call us today for information on our internationally recognized programs. (888) 727-0441.

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