The Gambling Addiction Recovery Process

Close to the hand that is based on a slot machineGambling addiction is one of the most widespread behavioral addictions. Between 1-5% of Americans are involved in compulsive gambling. Among young people and ethnic minorities, the rate is even higher. A 2010 study found that 6-9% of adolescents and young adults are addicted to gambling.

Addiction to gambling can lead to other problems, including debt and relationship misery. Usually it also coexists with other addicts, especially alcohol. It is easy to feel desperate and overwhelming while you are in the hands of a gambling addiction. Proper treatment can help people with gambling problems regain control of their lives.

When does gambling become an addiction?

A Gallup 2016 poll found that the game is a common diversion, with 64% of a representative sample of Americans saying it was playing at least once during the last year. Gambling is everywhere, from state lotteries to school labels. This may make it difficult to distinguish problematic gambling from typical gambling. For people in the recovery, the ubiquitous nature of gambling opportunities can make gambling a challenge.

Random play is a fun activity that a person can easily leave behind. They do not feel the need to lie for their play or for bonuses in the secret and are unlikely to feel guilty of gambling. Gambling addiction is often secret, leading to feelings of shame and guilt. Gambling addicts may face a number of other problems related to their gambling.

The DSM-5 lists the following symptoms of forced toy. To diagnose a gambling addiction, a person must present at least four of these symptoms in one year:

  • You need to play bigger amounts to get the same level of excitement.
  • Feeling anxious or anxious when trying to stop gambling.
  • Repeated efforts to stop or reduce gambling.
  • Continuous thoughts about gambling.
  • Gambling as a way of dealing with emotional distress.
  • Returning to gambling even after losing money and often as a way to restore game losses.
  • Lying to others about gambling.
  • Risking or losing something important, such as a job or a relationship, due to the game.
  • Experiencing financial difficulty due to the game. Many drug addicts rely on others to help with financial problems related to gambling.

A 2004 study comparing typical gambling with gambling addiction shows the following features of gambling addiction:

  • Using gambling to manage unpleasant emotions such as depression and anxiety.
  • Physiological stimulation and enthusiasm associated with gambling.
  • Gain sense of achievement associated with gambling.

For those not familiar with behavioral outbursts, it may seem strange to compare addiction to gambling with chemical addictions. However, addiction to gambling can, over time, change the brain in ways similar to alcohol and drugs.

What makes treatment difficult for gambling addiction?

Unlike drugs such as alcohol and tobacco, gambling does not directly change the brain. For those not familiar with behavioral outbursts, it may seem strange to compare addiction to gambling with chemical addictions. However, addiction to gambling can, over time, change the brain in ways similar to alcohol and drugs.

The game offers a strong sense of reward and achievement. This can motivate people to continue playing gambling. Search for gambling addicts suggests that the game can release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is also associated with chemical exacerbations. This dopamine release can make a player feel excited, even "high".

As gambling addiction evolves, gamblers can face a number of hardships. These include:

  • Debt
  • Difficulty paying accounts
  • Loss of family resources
  • Marriage and relationship problems
  • Threats from bookmakers, especially in connection with illegal gambling operations

This stress can in fact cause more gambling, as people with gambling addiction can use behavior to manage stress. This causes a vicious circle, in which gambling undermines a person's quality of life and then uses it to cope. Life is steadily worse, leading to progressively greater gambling.

Gambling often appears along with other addictions, especially alcoholism. One study found that about 23% of people seeking treatment for gambling addiction were also addicted to alcohol. The interaction between two additional addictions can complicate the treatment, making recovery more difficult.

Most people with gambling problems find they have to completely avoid the game to avoid recurrence. This can be difficult. Many forms of gambling are legitimate, so opportunities abound, making it difficult to avoid. Because gambling is a popular social activity that is readily available everywhere from church amateurs to sporting events, avoiding temptation can feel like a full-time job.

How people overcome the problem of their gambling

Gambling addiction is a curable issue. The key to effective treatment addresses the underlying emotions that lead to addiction, as most problem gamers use the game to cope with psychological pain. In order to be effective, treatment should also respect the values ​​of treatment demands, cultural needs and spiritual beliefs. Some options that can help you include:

  • Treatment of underlying mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.
  • Psychotherapy to cope with the feelings associated with the game and offer constructive feedback that helps players stop.
  • Restoration of addiction to households.
  • Outpatient programs, such as intensive outpatient care programs or addictive days treatment programs.
  • Support groups. One of the most popular choices is Gamblers Anonymous, a relaxed 12-step spiritual program. Some people opt for cosmic programs like SMART Recovery.

Some people find they have to try several treatments before they work. Others pursue two or more treatment options at the same time. About 90% of people with a recurrence of game addiction for the first time, leading many addictive specialists to see relapse as part of the recovery journey. Each relapse offers the opportunity to learn more about what works and what does not do in the recovery and to get closer to the permanent retention of the game.

If you or your loved one has a gambling problem

Addiction thrives in shame and often works in secrecy. For many people, just admitting that they have a problem or thinking that a loved one may have a problem, is a powerful first step towards recovery. This acceptance helps to remove justifications and justifications and shifts the focus towards finding appropriate treatment.

How to help someone with drug addiction

If someone you love appears to be addicted to gambling, it is important to cure his compulsive behavior not as a moral or personal failure, but as a health problem that does not differ from diabetes or heart failure. Nobody chooses willingly to become an addict. Your loved one would stop by itself if they could.

Try to talk with them without judgment. Express your concern and support and offer them to help them find treatment – or even go with them to treatment. If someone you are close to has an addiction that affects your life, it is important to design and define clear boundaries. For example, parents could clarify that they would no longer give children money that will be used for gambling while a partner may open an individual bank account to protect family finances.

How to Stop Gambling Addiction

Some people struggling with gambling hope that they can stop alone without getting help or telling anyone. This goal is often caused by shame and denial. Most addicts will need treatment and support to get and stay sober.

A sympathetic therapist specializing in addictive behaviors can help you decide whether you have an addiction and explore the next steps. The right therapist can also help you talk to your loved ones, repair broken relationships and plan a plan to get back to your life.

Bibliographical references:

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  6. Ricketts, T. & Macaskill, A. (2004). Differentiation of regular and problematic gambling: A neighboring theoretical approach. Research and Theories of Addiction, 12(1), 77-87. Retrieved from

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