If you are grappling with this addiction, seek professional treatment. Once you admit and address the problem, other pieces of your life will fall back into place. According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment for compulsive gambling is similar to therapies for other forms of addiction. Your doctor or mental health professional may use these approaches:
Psychotherapy in the form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on identifying unhealthy, irrational and negative beliefs and having you replace them with healthy, positive ones.
Group therapy that enables an addict to tap into the advice, feedback and support from other people on how to deal with a gambling addiction.
Gamblers Anonymous provides self-help peer support and a 12-step program patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. For people who are uncertain whether they have a gambling problem, Gamblers Anonymous publishes a list of 20 questions as a screening tool and provides a list of local chapters.
Residential treatment programs organized and staffed to provide both general and specialized non-hospital-based interdisciplinary services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Residential treatment programs provide environments in which assistance is provided by personnel trained in the delivery of services for those with behavioral health disorders or related problems.
Inpatient treatment programs providing coordinated and integrated services in hospital settings. Inpatient treatment is provided 24 hours, 7 days a week, and there are daily therapeutic activities in which patients participate. The goal of inpatient treatment is to provide a protective environment that includes medical stabilization, support, treatment for psychiatric or addictive disorders, and supervision.
Counseling by a Certified Gambling Counselor who has completed a specific course of study in problem gambling treatment and has been certified by either:
A national accreditation organization (National Gambling Counselor Certification Board-NCGC; American Gambling Counselor Certification Board-CCGC; or American
A state certification organization that requires a minimum of 30 hours of problem gambling specific training and a period of direct (supervisor personal contact) supervision related to treating addicted gambler.
Crisis stabilization is very important at the beginning of treatment, because pathological gamblers have a much higher suicide rate than persons addicted to other substances or activities. Therefore, loved ones should be especially aware of the desperation phase of the disease, and monitor the gambler closely.
Compulsive gamblers often have other addictions simultaneously, such as drug and alcohol abuse, compulsive shopping and bulimia. The addictive gambler may be harder to treat than someone with only one addiction, because he or she may “switch addictions” and therefore leave the addictive personality traits untreated.