Treatment for Gambling Addiction
We all need guidance sometimes to focus on self-care and others. Karner Psychological Associates is here for you, with our team of doctoral-level psychologists, clinical social workers, therapists, licensed mental health counselors, and other professional clinicians. We see people of all ages, including children, teens, and families. Karner Psychological Associates is a long-established outpatient mental health practice, serving the Capital District New York and larger tri-state area, that aims to provide patients with the highest quality therapeutic experience across a broad range of specialties. We are better together.
What Is a Gambling Addiction? Learn More About the Signs & Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling or pathological gambling, is a type of impulse control disorder. It is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to gamble despite the negative consequences it may bring. Just like with any other addiction, individuals who suffer from gambling addiction often have difficulty stopping their behavior even when they know that it can harm their relationships, finances, and overall well-being.
Gambling addiction can manifest in various ways. Some people may have a sudden onset of the disorder, while others may develop it over time. Here are some common signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Preoccupation with gambling: Constantly thinking about gambling, planning future bets, and reliving past gambling experiences.
- Inability to stop gambling: Even if they want to, individuals with gambling addiction may find it challenging to control their behavior and continue to gamble despite the negative consequences.
- Increased tolerance: Similar to substance abuse, those with a gambling addiction may need more significant or frequent bets to experience the same level of excitement.
- Chasing losses: Trying to recoup previous gambling losses by betting more money, which can lead to even greater financial and emotional consequences.
- Gambling as an escape: Using gambling as a coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions.
- Financial problems: Difficulty managing finances due to excessive gambling and taking on large amounts of debt.
- Neglecting responsibilities: Individuals with gambling addiction may prioritize gambling over work, school, or family responsibilities.
- Lying and secrecy: Hiding gambling behavior from loved ones and lying about the extent of their problem.
- Relationship difficulties: Gambling addiction can strain relationships due to dishonesty, financial problems, and neglect.
Just like any other addiction, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for gambling addiction. Treatment typically involves a combination of therapy, medication, and support from loved ones. Here are some common treatment options for gambling addiction:
- Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to treat gambling addiction. It helps individuals identify and change their thought patterns and behaviors related to gambling
- Support groups: Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is a 12-step program that provides support and guidance for individuals struggling with gambling addiction.
- Medications: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage the symptoms of gambling addiction, such as antidepressants or anti-seizure medications.
If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction, know that treatment is available. Seeking help and support is the first step towards recovery. Remember, it's never too late to get help and take control of your life. So if you or someone you know needs help, don't hesitate to reach out for support. Together, we can overcome gambling addiction and live a healthier, happier life. There is always hope for recovery. Keep fighting, and don't give up. Your future self will thank you.