Gambling Addiction- getting help.

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Gambling Addiction- getting help.

17 September, 2021Articles, News

Compulsive gambling is a type of behavioural addiction (also known as a “process addiction” and an impulse control disorder) where the individual has a pathological compulsion to wager. The addiction to gambling becomes destructive, but the gambler continues despite the negative consequences- this is gambling addiction.

Compulsive gambling often takes tremendous amounts of time, and as the gambler spends increasing amounts of time at it, other activities suffer. They neglect relationships, family and home responsibilities. They often miss work. They neglect meetings and other important obligations, or, they may gamble while they are at work- or when they should be sleeping or interacting with their family. The results can be more than they can afford.

Despite the losses accumulated, the compulsive gambling continues until the addict is able to admit the problem and accept help.

Gambling treatment and recovery programmes are plentiful but it’s worth remembering, as with any addiction- stopping isn’t the hard part- staying away in the long term is what counts, therefore outpatient group therapy or individual counselling on a long-term basis is critical.

Signs of addiction include:

  • Lying about gambling habits.
  • Gambling more than one can afford to lose.
  • Borrowing of money to pay for gambling.
  • Attempting to gamble further to recover losses.
  • Stealing to fund gambling.
  • Noticeable change in behaviour and patterns of moodiness and stress over finances.
  • Unable to stop gambling despite consequences.


In general, treatment is split into three types:

  • Therapy: This could be behaviour therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Behaviour therapy helps an individual reduce the urge to gamble by systematically exposing them to the behaviour. CBT helps change the way in which the individual feels and thinks about gambling.
  • Rehabilitation: The benefits of residential gambling treatments can reach farther than outpatient care simply because patients are there to focus on recovery without the noise of everyday life.
  • Self-help groups: Some find it helpful to speak with others in a similar situation.

Getting help

If a person suspects they might have a gambling problem, there are a variety of self-tests available on the internet. Those tests will not give a diagnosis and do not replace a face-to-face evaluation with a trained clinical professional, but they can help people decide whether to seek formal evaluation of their gambling behaviour. A clinical professional will provide a detailed assessment and develop an adequate treatment plan, based on the individual’s needs. Anyone who suspects that they have a problem with gambling should seek professional help.

If you or a loved one needs assistance with an addiction to gambling – know that help is readily available. The road to recovery is not always an easy one but getting yourself or your loved one the best possible care from the team at Crossroads Recovery Centre, provides you with a map to sober, healthy living. No matter how bad things seem, there is hope and it’s only a phone call away. If you or anyone close to you needs help with an addiction to sex, gambling, substances, alcohol or food, please contact us for a free assessment.

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