Gambling Rehab – when a game is no longer a game.

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Gambling Rehab – when a game is no longer a game.

20 August, 2021Articles, News

Compulsive gambling has been recognised as a definable behavioural disorder. It is a serious condition that can destroy lives. Although treating compulsive gambling can be challenging, many people who struggle with compulsive gambling have found help through professional treatment, mostly in an inpatient gambling rehab setting.

As gambling addiction has become recognised as a behavioural problem, and its prevalence has grown, so rehabs have introduced programmes to deal with this process addiction using similar approaches to handling any other addiction.

What is a gambling disorder?

“Unlike most casual gamblers who stop when losing or set a loss limit, people with a compulsive gambling problem are compelled to keep playing to recover their money — a pattern that becomes increasingly destructive over time”- Mayo Clinic.

A “compulsive, or pathological, problem gambler” are terms that have been used to describe an individual who is unable to manage or stop or control his or her impulses in terms of gambling. Gambling disorders can lead to serious emotional, financial, relationship and other social consequences if there is no intervention to arrest the problem.

Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs or alcohol and this turns into addiction. If you have a problem with compulsive gambling, you may continually want to persist with the behaviour regardless of the outcome. Gamblers often take bets that lead to losses, hide their behaviour, deplete savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud to support their addiction.

It is apparent that people who suffer severely from the disorder are unable to stop by using their usual coping mechanisms and need the help of a certified and registered gambling rehab.

How do you know that you may have a problem with gambling disorder?
According to specialists in this area from the Mayo Clinic , if the following apply to you, you could be suffering from a gambling disorder and may need to consider entering a gambling rehab.

  • Being preoccupied with gambling, such as constantly planning how to get more money to gamble
  • Needing to gamble with increasing amounts of money to get the same thrill
  • Trying to control, cut back or stop gambling, without success
  • Feeling restless or irritable when you try to cut down on gambling
  • Gambling to escape problems or relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression
  • Trying to get back lost money by gambling more (chasing losses)
  • Lying to family members or others to hide the extent of your gambling
  • Jeopardizing or losing important relationships, a job, or school or work opportunities because of gambling
  • Resorting to theft or fraud to get gambling money
  • Asking others to bail you out of financial trouble because you gambled money away

Compulsive gambling addiction is not related to morality or values issues- it is fraught with complex motivations and often related to trauma of some sort. It is also very much a systemic family disorder, or rather its consequences almost always impact the family system of the gambler. Compulsive gambling can have many consequences on financial resources and interpersonal relationships. Often the gambler is rejected by the people that he or she has hurt as a result of the behaviour and it becomes increasingly difficult for the person to find the support, they need in order to recover in the family context. Hence the need for a focussed gambling rehabilitation.

Gambling addiction requires a specialised, customised and holistic approach as the issues are specific and the risks of later relapse are just as high as any other form of addiction. Bearing this in mind there is a distinct focus on family dynamics during the treatment process.

It is often accompanied by cross addiction such as alcoholism, drug addiction or sex addiction.

The treatment modalities include :

  • Behaviour therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy may be helpful in the treatment of this disorder. “Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on identifying unhealthy, irrational and negative beliefs and replacing them with healthy, positive ones.”
  • Medications. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers may help problems that often go along with compulsive gambling — such as depression, OCD or ADHD.
  • Self-help groups. Some people find that talking with others who have a gambling problem may be a helpful part of treatment. Self-help groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous and other resources.
  • Lastly, and in many cases the most appropriate, is a 12-step oriented in-house treatment process.

Treatment approach often depends on the severity of the disorder.

Crossroads Recovery Centre has specialist staff and programmes that help to deal with these complex issues. Our process is a 12-step programme which is specifically focused on the problem of gambling. Family support is also an integral part of the treatment and Crossroads runs a family support group every second week to help the family members and loved ones going through the process.

Treatment for compulsive gambling may involve an outpatient programme or inpatient programme in a gambling rehab, depending on the severity needs and resources available. Treatment for substance abuse, depression, anxiety or any other mental health disorder may be part of your treatment plan for compulsive gambling.

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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Stories of Recovery

  • The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.
    Oliver VG
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  • On the last day of my stint at Crossroads I could only express gratitude towards all who works there. A wise councillor once commented on my question when one is ready for rehab by explaining that when one is ready for rehab, rehab is ready for you.
    Johan B
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  • I was lost and my soul was broken until I ended up at Crossroads and was introduced to the Twelve Steps. With the help of their excellent staff and amazing support I have recently been clean for 18 months, I could not have done it without them!
    Carla S
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  • "Just for today I am more than three years in recovery. I have Cross Roads to thank for this wonderful gift. Cross Roads helped me to set a firm foundation in my recovery on which I can continue to build."
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