Gambling Addiction Treatment
Treatment for gambling addiction is just as essential as treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. All of these issues cause severe problems in the lives of the addict and, often, in the lives of their family members and friends.
According to the NLM, the best thing you can do for gambling addiction is to attend formal treatment and to ask for help. “Your health care provider can work with you to find the treatment that’s best for you.” While gambling addiction treatment is still a more recent form of mental health treatment, there are effective ways to help a pathological gambler recover from their addiction and get their life back on track.
The DHHS states that Gamblers Anonymous is one of the helpful treatment options available to gamblers who may need a structured treatment program but not the more controlled environment of a treatment center. GA, like other anonymous, mutual-help groups, offers meetings with other individuals who are struggling with gambling addiction and the chance to talk to a sponsors who are currently in recovery from a gambling addiction themselves. GA also offers the ability to be able to talk to someone immediately if the situation is dire.
According to the CRB, “The best estimate for the population of Gamblers Anonymous is about 80,000.” That, as compared to the 3 million who are considered to be pathological gamblers, shows that individuals who need gambling treatment do not seek it to the point that they should, but in time, gambling addiction treatment will hopefully become more widespread.
Therapy as a treatment for gambling addiction is also extremely beneficial. This type of treatment is usually formal and can be obtained in a doctor’s office, outreach center, rehab center, or mental health facility. The CRB states, “Many pathological gamblers also suffer from another mental illness,” like anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. If a gambling addict suffers from another disorder as well, therapy can treat both conditions together, often causing a better outcome in the treatment of both.
There are “national certified gambling counselors” according to Healthfinder.gov, and these individuals can help you learn new and better ways to cope with your stresses and your desire to gamble. Certain therapy types might be used like cognitive-behavioral therapy in order to make changes to your behavior and your feelings about yourself and your gambling.
There is no specific medication approved to treat gambling addiction, but the NLM states, “a few studies have been done on medications for treating pathological gambling” (NLM 1). Antidepressants and opioid antagonists like naltrexone have shown some promise in treating the essential symptoms of the condition of pathological gambling. “However, it is not yet clear which people will respond to the medications.” This is why therapy and self-help groups like Gamblers Anonymous are still the main treatment options for gambling addiction.
Gambling addiction is a true disorder that causes an individual to lose control of their gambling, their finances, and often many other aspects of their regular life. While gambling addiction can get worse the longer it goes on, with treatment, you can find ways to stop your gambling from causing more problems in your life.