Is there Treatment for Gambling Addiction?

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Is there Treatment for Gambling Addiction?

10 December, 2019Articles, News

According to South Africa’s National Gambling Board, over R27 billion was generated in gambling taxes and levies in 2017 across different sectors including casinos, horse racing, sports betting, bingo, the lottery and limited pay-out machines. While arguably the majority of South African gamblers do so responsibly, there is a large percentage of gamblers who find themselves becoming addicted. According to the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation, health issues related to gambling addiction in women have spiked in recent years. For this reason, facilities like Crossroads Recovery Centres have developed comprehensive treatment programmes for gambling addicts.

What is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction is known by professionals in the recovery community, as a process addiction. In other words, it is not an addiction that involves a substance like drugs or alcohol. Instead, it involves becoming addicted to a “process” or behaviour.

What are the Symptoms of Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction is akin to substance addiction in that it produces a rush or high that is similar to the high that substance users experience. The “high” of winning however, has a darker side in that the “low” of the loss can lead to feelings of extreme anxiety and depression, followed by the need to alleviate that “low” by placing another bet. The cycle is progressive and vicious.

Some of the most common symptoms reported in gambling rehabs, are financial loss and exorbitant debt. Loss of sleep, dehydration and paranoia are also common side effects that are caused by compulsive gambling. Often, gambling addicts will go to any length to obtain the next “high,” whether that means gambling away one’s salary or savings, stealing from loved ones or even betting personal possessions once the money has run out.

What Does Gambling Rehab Entail?

Gambling rehab is no different to rehabilitation for substance abuse per se. Addiction as a whole is treated according to the “disease model” at Crossroads Recovery Centres and aspects such as substance abuse, alcoholism, porn addiction and gambling are seen as manifestations of the same root cause. For this reason, gambling rehab entails group therapy as well as individual therapy sessions with a counsellor, workshops and life skills groups as well as an introduction to Gamblers Anonymous South Africa, so that addicts can build an all-important support network after treatment. Like with other forms of addiction, gambling rehab rests on the understanding that change is gradual. Gambling addicts will need to make incremental yet consistent changes in their lives in order to live lives that are free from the bondage of addiction.

If you or a loved one is in search of help for gambling addiction, know that help is readily available. Contact us for a free consultation and we’ll support you in your journey.



National Gambling Board

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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.
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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."
    Angelique J
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