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Understanding Gambling Addiction

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Understanding Gambling Addiction

30 July, 2020Articles, News

Is there a cure for gambling addiction?

At Crossroads Recovery Centres, we subscribe to the disease model of addiction and base our treatment process on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and therefore we do not believe that there is a cure for addiction per se. What we do claim is that similar to other forms of addiction, an addiction to gambling can be arrested and managed – as is the case with any other chronic condition. The analogy of diabetes is sometimes a helpful tool. Diabetes is incurable but its effects can be mitigated, and it can be managed if the diabetic takes certain medication. Likewise, gambling addiction can be arrested and the addict can refrain from indulging in compulsive gambling if they take certain steps towards nurturing a healthy and more stable mind and spiritual condition.

What causes an addiction to gambling?

As in the case of other addictions, there are many different opinions on this subject. Some professionals point to family history and a genetic predisposition to explain why certain people have addictive traits and others do not. Some point to the unique circumstances of the individual and whether they have the required skills to deal with their emotions without abusing drugs. In the case of addicted gamblers, some find themselves unable to stop because they have lost large sums of money and become obsessed with winning it back. Some are drawn to the lifestyle that is associated with gambling and the idea of status and prestige. The desire to experience extreme thrills and highs can also be a contributing factor.

Is there a self-assessment for whether someone is a gambling addict?

If the thought of stopping gambling fills someone with a sense of extreme anxiety and angst, it may be an indicator that their relationship with gambling is not healthy. We have heard it said that gambling addicts can stop gambling, even for weeks at a time, but their ability to “stay stopped” and maintain a healthy mind, body and spiritual condition is the real indicator of whether someone is addicted to gambling or not. At Crossroads Recovery Centres we have experience with dealing with clients who suffer from an addiction to gambling – we know what the signs are, how to expose them and how to guide a person on a path towards recovery. A free consultation with one of our counsellors could be your first step towards living a life free from the clutches of this addiction.

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

Sources:  Psychguides.com

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  • 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
    Read 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 B
    Read 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 S
    Read 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 J
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What Does the Treatment Process in a Gambling Rehab Entail?

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What Does the Treatment Process in a Gambling Rehab Entail?

02 April, 2020Articles, News

Gambling addiction is identified as a process addiction because it does not involve addiction to a substance like drugs or alcohol. Instead, it involves an obsessive and compulsive behaviour that can begin with an innocent attempt at winning and end with a downward spiral into financial, mental and even physical ruin. Rehabilitation for gambling, as in the case of rehabilitation for drugs and alcohol, involves both individual and group counselling, group therapy, life skills workshops and other factors which collectively help addicts to live and operate functionally in a world without the uncontrollable urge to gamble.

One of the most dangerous misconceptions about gambling addiction, is that it involves slot machines, roulette wheels and poker games. In fact, gambling addiction can manifest in a variety of other forms, including an addiction to playing the lottery, betting on horses or even compulsively entering raffles.

One of the most obvious symptoms of gambling addiction is financial devastation. Gambling addicts may find themselves unable to refrain from their compulsive behaviour, even when they cannot afford to maintain the habit. Addicts who end up at a rehab, often end up entering treatment because they have reached a personal rock-bottom. At the lowest point in a gambling addict’s life, financial ruin may very well be a reality but there are a myriad of other symptoms to look out for. Anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts are just some of the emotional symptoms of gambling addiction. Chasing the next high in the form of a win, is the addict’s only goal, and in the process of reaching that goal, relationships can be destroyed, their health can be severely compromised and mentally, it becomes increasingly more difficult to maintain a lifestyle that is ultimately not sustainable.

What rehabilitation does, is interrupt the downward spiral of addiction. It is widely understood that while gambling addiction cannot be “cured” as such, it can be arrested and recovery is then possible. Essentially, gambling rehab is the beginning of a lifelong process that involves breaking negative patterns, challenging one’s natural programming and finding new ways to embrace life on its own terms. At Crossroads Recovery Centres, we encourage gambling addicts to become a part of the Gamblers’ Anonymous programme of recovery, which includes going to meetings and working the 12 steps. Although the thought of committing to recovery may seem daunting, addicts are encouraged to take things one day at a time, to connect with fellow addicts who share the same experience and to actively pursue a life of purpose and long-lasting serenity.

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.

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Johannesburg Admissions: +27 74 895 1043
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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
    Read 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 B
    Read 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 S
    Read 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 J
    Read more
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What Does Gambling Rehabilitation Entail?

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Home / Posts tagged "gambling addiction"

What Does Gambling Rehabilitation Entail?

24 February, 2020Articles, News

There are various strategies that people have developed to make sure that gambling does not have catastrophic affects on their finances and family. These methods include having a strict limit to the money one is allowed to gamble with for the night. Having a limit to the time you’ll spend in the casino is also a good idea. There’s also an understanding amongst recreational gamblers that gambling is just that – fun. It’s not a way to make extra money or a way to get out of debt or a way to get over feelings of depression and boredom. However, for gambling addicts, the act of gambling means something entirely different.

Gambling is just one specific manifestation of the disease of addiction. It manifests in the compulsive and uncontrollable desire to chase the rush of energy that comes with winning money – and that rush is all-consuming. The fact is that gambling addicts do not become addicted overnight, (addiction may set in over months or even years), which is why gambling rehabilitation combines group treatment for common symptoms, with individual counselling that will help addicts to deal with their problem within their own unique contexts.

The most important thing to understand about gambling rehabilitation, is that it’s a process. It’s not a quick fix to a simple problem. To the contrary, it is a long-term solution to a deeply entrenched and complex problem. Depending on each addict’s unique set of circumstances, gambling rehabilitation may begin with a self-imposed ban from all local casinos. Legally, casinos are obligated to comply with self-imposed bans and to ensure that if addicts contravene the ban, they will be removed from the premises. In the case of online casinos, backroom poker games and pub slot machines, the solution is for gambling addicts to refrain from going to those places and spending time with the people they spent time with while acting out.

Gambling rehabilitation is a two-way street. Counsellors, therapists and workshop facilitators can do their part by providing gambling addicts with the knowledge they need to understand their disease, as well as the coping mechanisms they will need to curb their negative behaviour. However, without the cooperation and willingness of the gambling addict, treatment will be ineffective. The good news is that although willingness may not come immediately to all gambling addicts, it can develop over time. What is often said is that some people enter recovery for the wrong reasons such as appeasing their family, but they end up staying for the right reasons. Ultimately, that is what matters.

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

Free Addiction Assessment

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Johannesburg Admissions: +27 74 895 1043
Pretoria Admissions: +27 72 631 9095 +27 82 653 3311
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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
    Read 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 B
    Read 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 S
    Read 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 J
    Read more
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A gambling addiction is a progressive addiction that can have many negative psychological, physical, and social repercussions. It is classed as an impulse-control disorder.

It is included in the American Psychiatric Association (APA’s) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fifth edition (DSM-5).

Problem gambling is harmful to psychological and physical health. People who live with this addiction may experience depression, migraine, distress, intestinal disorders, and other anxiety-related problems.

As with other addictions, the consequences of gambling can lead to feelings of despondency and helplessness. In some cases, this can lead to attempts at suicide.

The rate of problem gambling has risen globally over the last few years. In the United States in 2012, around 5.77 million people had a gambling disorder that needed treatment.

Because of its harmful consequences, gambling addiction has become a significant public health concern in many countries.

Symptoms

Gambling addiction comes in many forms, the primary symptom being a craving for gaming.

Some of the signs and symptoms of problem gambling include:

Gambling is not a financial problem, but an emotional problem that has financial consequences.

It also impacts the way in which the person with the disorder relates to his or her family and friends. For instance, they may miss important events in the family, or they might miss work.

Diagnosis

For a diagnosis of gambling addiction, The DSM-5 states that a person must show or experience at least four of the following during the past 12 months:

  • Need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to feel excitement
  • Restlessness or irritability when trying to stop gambling
  • Repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop, control, or reduce gambling
  • Thinking often about gambling and making plans to gamble
  • Gambling when feeling distressed
  • Returning to gamble again after losing money
  • Lying to conceal gambling activities
  • Experiencing relationship or work problems due to gambling
  • Depending on others for money to spend on gambling

Triggers

Gambling can lead to a range of problems, but the addiction can happen to anyone. No one can predict who will develop an addiction to gambling.

The activity can be described on a spectrum, ranging from abstinence through recreational gambling to problem gambling.

Gambling behaviour becomes a problem when it cannot be controlled and when it interferes with finances, relationships, and the workplace. The individual may not realize they have a problem for some time.

Many people who develop a gambling addiction are considered responsible and dependable people, but some factors can lead to a change in behaviour.

These could include:

  • retirement
  • traumatic circumstances
  • job-related stress
  • emotional upheaval, such as depression or anxiety
  • loneliness
  • the presence of other addictions
  • environmental factors, such as friends or available opportunities

Studies have suggested that people with a tendency to one addiction may be more at risk of developing another. Genetic and neurological factors may play a role.

Some people who are affected by gambling may also have a problem with alcohol or drugs, possibly due to a predisposition for addiction.

The use of some medications has been linked to a higher risk of compulsive gambling.

Secondary addictions can also occur in an effort to reduce the negative feelings created by the gambling addiction. However, some people who gamble never experience any other addiction.

Addiction

Gambling addiction is a debilitating condition, causing depression and distress.

For someone with a gambling addiction, the feeling of gambling is equivalent to taking a drug or having a drink.

Gambling behaviour alters the person’s mood and state of mind.

As the person becomes used to this feeling, they keep repeating the behaviour, attempting to achieve that same effect.

A person who has an addiction to gambling needs to gamble more to get the same “high.” In some instances, they “chase” their losses, thinking that if they continue to engage in gambling, they will win back lost money.

A vicious circle develops, and an increased craving for the activity. At the same time, the ability to resist drops. As the craving grows in intensity and frequency, the ability to control the urge to gamble is weakened.

This can have a psychological, personal, physical, social, or professional impact.


Neither the frequency of gambling nor the amount lost will determine whether gambling is a problem for an individual. .

Some people engage in periodic gambling binges rather than regularly, but the emotional and financial consequences will be the same.

Gambling becomes a problem when the person can no longer stop doing it, and when it causes a negative impact on any area of the individual’s life.

Resource

Medical News Today. What’s to know about gambling addiction by Christian Nordqvist. 2018. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/15929.php

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Johannesburg Admissions: +27 74 895 1043
Pretoria Admissions: +27 72 631 9095 +27 82 653 3311
Close

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
    Read 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 B
    Read 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 S
    Read 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 J
    Read more
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