What Should I Know About Gambling Addiction Treatment?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2020
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Gambling addiction, which may be more commonly termed compulsive gambling, is the urge to keep gambling regardless of things like results or extreme financial suffering. People addicted to gambling can lose all their money, borrow money from others and lose it, and they may not be able to stop without suffering withdrawals. Some people are able to end compulsive gambling behaviors on their own, but many people benefit from gambling addiction treatment.

There are several different types of gambling addiction treatment. A person wishing to stop may find benefit by working with a private therapist, especially one who specializes in addiction issues. Some people work with online therapists or even get help from therapist over the phone, but in general, therapy sessions in an office may be more effective.

Another common gambling addiction treatment method is various 12-step groups. These groups are structured on similar principals to groups for Alcoholics Anonymous. People work through steps with a sponsor, a former compulsive gambler, to learn how to master addiction and move forward with their lives. Former addicts usually run 12-step groups and they may meet daily, weekly, or monthly depending upon involvement. Participation is usually free.


Some people seek gambling addiction treatment at day treatment facilities. Though they go home at night, during the day they are in a setting where they address all the aspects of gambling addiction and how to recover from it. Such facilities are typically run by mental health professionals and may also have counselors who have recovered from this compulsion. Individual and group work may occur at different times during the day.

Other treatment facilities are not outpatient. For a specified period of time, the compulsive gambler stays in the facility in order to address the ways to live without gambling. Like day treatment facilities, individuals are likely to receive both private counseling and work in groups with other people with compulsive gambling issues

When people are compulsive gamblers, one bar to refraining from gambling can be total destruction of personal finances and debts owed. Many gambling addiction treatment types may help address the financial issues caused by compulsive gambling. People may receive debt counseling and learn ways to restructure debt as a part of treatment. The consequences of gambling addiction from a financial standpoint alone are usually better addressed because continued financial desperation may make people much more likely to gamble again. This doesn’t mean people will pay off debts a former gambler owes, but the compulsive gambler can be helped to negotiate reasonable payment amounts to debtors as part of treatment.

Through various gambling addiction treatments, many are able to successfully end compulsive gambling behavior. People can choose to employ several different methods to reduce likelihood of returning to gambling. For instance, a person could use a treatment facility and then join a 12-step group after release. The main component in success appears to be willingness to end the addiction. It is very challenging to compel compulsive gamblers to stop their behavior unless they are committed to quitting.



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