Gambling affects people differently. Some are unable to maintain a normal balance in their lives after they start gambling, while it hardly affects others. It is an established fact that compulsive gambling is a progressive illness. It could take a devastating toll on an individual’s life, leading some to lie, steal, blow through their savings or miss out on the rest of their lives.
Often it is family and friends who raise the alarm when they notice the trend towards compulsive, addictive behavior. If they approach the addict with honesty and tact while avoiding being judgmental, the first hurdle will be achieved: getting the sufferer to accept that a problem exists. If the sufferer refuses to accept this, they cannot be helped.
Access Professional Help
The most important next step is to get professional help. Support and counseling is more effective if handled by trained personnel. At times a regimen of clinical care may be required, and it is important to seek the best possible care.
Talk To Someone With Gambling Problems
A fellow gambling addict can bring shared perspective which even a medical professional may not be able to achieve. Membership of a gamblers support group can be of immense value. Empathy and fellowship can serve to counteract the underlying conditions which exacerbate addictive behavior, such as depression, loneliness, low self esteem and feeling unwanted. The group members also become a source of accountability and strength to one another.
Learn How To Cope
Coping with a gambling addiction can be challenging because this once used to be a pleasurable activity. In addition, gambling is everywhere, readily available to suck the gambler back in. Valuable coping techniques include having a sponsor or designated person to provide oversight, identifying your specific gambling triggers and avoiding them, avoiding people who encourage your betting habit, and enrolling in and completing a targeted program so as to ensure long-term success.
Psychotherapy, medication and group therapy are the main ways to treat gambling. Cognitive behavioural therapy and behaviour therapy help a person identify thought patterns that lead to and support a gambling problem, and replace them with healthier ones.
Some gamblers respond well to antidepressants, narcotic antagonists and mood stabilizer medications. A person with a gambling addiction often also suffers from bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD or obsessive-compulsive disorder, so medication or therapy to treat these conditions can alleviate gambling addiction.
Membership of support groups like Gamblers Anonymous can help many as well.
Deciding Between Alternative Solutions
The type of treatment that works for one person can vary significantly from what works for another person. In order to arrive at an appropriate solution, evaluation by a professional should be carried out.
Where To Find Help
The sooner an affected person finds help for his gambling addiction, the easier it is to stop the progression of the illness. Fully equipped facilities with the capacity to offer inpatient services may not be readily available everywhere, but the local support group should be able to help with the location of the nearest facility.
In gambling, the house always wins, but you don’t have to keep losing. Get help.