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Gambling Addiction Treatment Programs

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gambling-addictionLegal gambling can be an enjoyable pastime when people engage in it on a very occasional basis. However, when the trips to Las Vegas or Atlantic City become too frequent, or a gambler racks up debts to cover constant losses, gambling addiction treatment becomes necessary.

Overly frequent gambling and debts are but two of the clearest signs you are addicted to gambling. Other indications of gambling addiction include an obsession with gambling, in which the gambler plans his or her activities and finances around gambling, a constant need to raise the amount of money that is used for gambling especially if the higher sums are used to attempt to win enough money to make up for prior losses, and feelings of irritability or nervousness when a gambler is not actually gambling.

Identifying A Person With A Gambling Problem

Gambling addicts, who are also known as pathological gamblers, often deny that they have a problem even when their addiction to gambling has reached the point that they have suffered severe financial, personal and social consequences. Sometimes, the only true help for gambling addicts is obtained is when the pathological gambler is arrested or otherwise brought to the attention of the criminal justice system. This usually happens only after the gambler has committed theft, fraud, or other offenses in order to obtain the funds he or she needs to continue gambling.

If you or a loved one has become so involved with gambling that it is causing financial distress and debt to build up, you can find the right kind of professional help for gambling addicts by calling our 24-hour help line at 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? or by filling out our form so we can help you find a gambling addiction treatment program that rebuilds lives affected by pathological gambling.

How Treatment For Gambling Addicts Works

Medically Assisted Detox

detox A medically assisted detox is the supervised weaning of a drug addict, using a substitute drug. The average medically assisted detox lasts between three and seven days, depending on the individual circumstances.

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Gambling addiction treatment is based on counseling and behavior modification therapy. While the thrills of gambling may produce a reaction in the brain that is similar to that of drug abuse, there is no medication or surgical procedure that can stop addiction to gambling. However, in some cases, a pathological gambler may also be addicted to drugs or alcohol, both of which are often easy to obtain in and around legal and illegal gambling venues.

Whenever multiple addictions are suspected, a residential treatment center is usually the best option. Treatment for such combined substance and gambling addictions can be complex and can require medical detoxification to treat acute substance withdrawal symptoms before the patient’s pathological gambling addiction can be addressed.

When gambling addiction is the sole type of compulsive behavior that affects a patient, the choice between residential and outpatient therapy depends upon the severity of the addiction and how strong the addict’s own desire to break his or her addiction is. Often, if treatment is started as soon as a gambler admits to showing any of the signs you are addicted to gambling, outpatient therapy is sufficient. This therapy can include attendance at “12-step programs” that are led by fellow recovering pathological gamblers, as well as professional counseling that includes cognitive therapy, which is known to provide help for gambling addicts.

On the other hand, if a pathological gambler continues to deny he or she has a problem, to the point that the gambler has suffered the loss of a job or business, devastated his or her finances, or has committed a criminal offense due to gambling addiction, a residential gambling addiction treatment program becomes necessary. This ensures that the patient is fully supervised, and is unable to even engage in the most minor forms of gambling such as purchase of a lottery ticket. While it may seem difficult or impossible for a patient whose funds have become depleted due to gambling to be able to pay for residential treatment, residential treatment programs are aware of this issue. The administrators of many programs, especially those run on a non-profit basis, will try to provide help for gambling addicts by accepting insurance or a comfortable payment arrangement that takes into account the patient’s present financial situation.

Regardless of how gambling may have affected your finances, if you or a loved one needs assistance in finding a residential gambling addiction treatment program, please call our 24-hour help line at 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? or fill out our contact form so that we can assist you in locating a program that is right for you.