Problem gambling is gambling behavior that causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. Problem gambling includes the condition known as pathological or compulsive gambling, a progressive addiction characterized by an increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of serious negative consequences.
Effects of Gambling Addiction
Pathological gambling devastates not only the gambler but also everyone with whom he or she has a significant relationship. Compulsive gambling is recognized in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) as a clinical pathological disorder. Compulsive gamblers will benefit from many of the same addiction treatment approaches as those with substance use disorders.
Many people occasionally buy a lottery ticket, bet on a sports game or visit a casino for fun. When gambling behaviors start impacting your responsibilities and relationships, there’s a problem that may require a gambling rehab program.
Concerned you or a loved one has a problem with gambling? Take our gambling addiction quiz.
Gambling Addiction Rehab
A gambling addiction rehab program can give you the space away from triggers and the 24/7 professional care needed to properly address your addiction. Gambling rehab is especially critical when the problem is compounded by substance abuse or other mental health disorders.
In a gambling addiction and substance abuse rehab such as The Ranch, you’ll be assessed for co-occurring mental health disorders like anxiety and depression that can contribute to coping mechanisms such as compulsive gambling and substance abuse. You’ll address underlying issues like past trauma that could also be fueling destructive behaviors.
Addiction treatment also helps you develop healthy coping tools you can apply to everyday life, which are critical to recovery. These may include meditation, yoga, fitness, journaling, spiritual practices and expressive therapies like art and music activities. You’ll also be introduced to support groups like Gamblers Anonymous. A network of peers sharing similar struggles can provide ongoing, invaluable support in recovery.
Ready to Get Help?
The Ranch mental health and addiction treatment center offers the specialized care you need to recover. We have a comprehensive substance abuse program and an onsite certified compulsive gambling counselor with almost three decades of experience helping those with gambling addictions and substance abuse. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation.
Warning Signs of Gambling Addiction
There are a variety of behaviors that may indicate a gambling addiction:
- Preoccupation – This is defined by frequent thoughts about gambling experiences, whether past experiences or fantasies about future gambling exploits.
- Tolerance – As with drug tolerance, you may require larger or more frequent wagers to experience the same “rush.”
- Withdrawal – Withdrawal from gambling addiction expresses itself as restlessness or irritability associated with attempts to stop or reduce gambling.
- Escape – You may gamble in an attempt to improve your mood or distract yourself from problems.
- Chasing – Chasing occurs when you try to win back gambling losses with more gambling.
- Lying – You may try to hide the extent of your gambling by lying to family, friends, coworkers or therapists.
- Loss of control – You unsuccessfully attempt to reduce or quit gambling.
- Illegal acts – You break the law in order to obtain gambling money or recover gambling losses. This may include acts of theft, embezzlement, fraud or forgery.
- Compromised relationships – You gamble despite risking or losing a relationship, job or other significant opportunity.
- Bailout – You turn to family, friends or another third party for financial assistance as a result of gambling (this is often a repeated behavior).