Know when to hold them, know when to fold them and know when to walk away know when to run. (Kenny Rogers)
Excessive Gambling has been recognised as a definable behavioural disorder and is also delineated in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition which outlines the criteria for diagnosis as a gambling addiction.
While this is a very clinical definition it is helpful to consider.
Persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behaviour leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as indicated by the individual exhibiting four (or more) of the following in a 12month period:
a. Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
b. Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
c. Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
d. Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling
experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with
which to gamble).
e. Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed).
f. After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses).
g. Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
h. Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity
because of gambling.
i. Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.
Compulsive gambling 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 the inpatient gambling rehab setting.
“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”.
As a result of this many gambling rehabs have introduced programmes to deal with this process addiction using similar approaches to handling any other addiction.
What is a gambling disorder?
A “compulsive, or pathological, problem gambler” are terms that have been used to describe and individual who is unable to manage or stop his or her impulse and action 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.
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.
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 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 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.
Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs or alcohol can 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. Gambler often take bets that lead to losses, hide their behaviour, deplete savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud to support your addiction.
It is often accompanied by cross addiction such as Alcohol Addiction, Drug addiction or Sex addiction.
The treatment modalities
- 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.
Crossroad’s 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 program, inpatient program in a gambling rehab depending on the severity needs and resources. 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 or friend is experiencing problems with a gambling addiction, please CALL Crossroads Recovery Centre
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 VGRead more
- 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 BRead more
- 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 SRead more
- "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 JRead more