Gambling may not seem like such an addictive thing, but it can be. Compulsive gambling is very similar psychologically to substance use disorder. A gamble, as traditionally defined, is doing something where there is a chance of success. The impetus for gambling is that gamblers typically take risks to earn a reward. This reward is a prize of some type, but the thrill isn’t about the reward in many cases. It’s about the risk. Gambling is an activity that injects dopamine into the brain when the gambler wins. Many organizations dedicated to gambling know this and build their games so that the hits of dopamine keep coming.
An Overview of Gambling Addiction
Unfortunately, gambling addiction is a much more difficult problem to spot than substance use disorder. When someone consumes a drug, there are telltale signs of use on the person’s body. Many of the side effects of substance use disorder are also easy to spot. However, gambling addiction’s only visible side effects are a lack of responsibility at one’s job and possibly sleepless nights as the gambler satiates their addiction. With time, the draw of the gambling den becomes more controlling, forcing a gambler to leave their solid home and family life and seek the thrills that the game has for them. Compulsive gambling can be disastrous to a person’s personal and social life.
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Is There a Treatment for Compulsive Gambling Addictive Disorder?
Addiction can be treated through therapy and detoxification. However, in the case of gambling rehab, there is no physical addiction to the games. Instead, the gambler has a psychological draw towards the game that they can’t shake. Compulsive gambling addiction can be dealt with through sustained therapy. There may be times when a patient’s willpower just isn’t up to the challenge of avoiding the games, and they may need to seek inpatient care to keep them away from the temptation. Overcoming gambling addiction requires focus, and in many cases, this focus is simply too challenging to handle on one’s own.
Compulsive gambling doesn’t require a person to go through detoxification. However, it does require a person to commit to their treatment over the long term. Treatment usually means therapy sessions with trained professionals. Some inpatient treatment centers also offer more intensive care and an environment that allows compulsive gamblers to relax and understand their addiction. Since addiction is a mental health issue, insurance coverage may be available for part or all of the costs of rehab. Consulting with a rehab center will help patients figure out whether they are eligible for full or partial coverage from their insurance company.
Therapies For Treating Gambling Disorders
Therapy is the best method of dealing with gambling rehab since it offers patients several options for overcoming their addiction. Gambling rehab therapy covers several disciplines, such as:
- Individual Therapy: One-on-one therapy sessions offer a patient the ability to interface with a therapist and explore underlying issues in a safe and non-judgmental situation. Individual treatment also allows the therapist to help the patient by giving them solutions that they can apply to their everyday lives.
- Group Therapy: Sharing with others who face similar problems has proven to work in helping a person overcome their addiction. Group therapy allows for exploring one’s own addiction in the company of others and learning from them as much as they learn from you.
- Psychiatric Care: Psychiatry helps individuals process their destructive and obsessive behaviors. Sometimes, gambling addiction can just start off as obsessive but then become harmful as other parts of a person’s life, such as their profession and personal lives, may be negatively affected.
- Alternative Therapies: Non-traditional therapies such as equine therapy or other types of treatment might help guide a person to overcome their addiction. Physical fitness training, for example, serves to give a patient something else to focus on.
Compulsive gambling is a psychological issue that requires treatment to deal with. Many of the treatment methods used are similar to other substance use disorder therapies. For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been used to help recovering persons recognize the negative thoughts that lead to negative consequences. For a compulsive gambler, this could be the impetus to gamble. A bettor could avoid the thoughts that cause them to repeat the actions with negative consequences by spotting the negative behavior.
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Signs And Symptoms A Gambling Rehab Might Be Needed
There are usually few physical symptoms of gambling addiction. However, the social ills of gambling can mount up. The most prominent issue that may face a compulsive gambler is consistent debt. When a bettor starts to take chances on winning, they risk more and more sums of money. Sometimes, they risk more than that. It’s not uncommon to encounter gamblers who have gambled away their houses or cars because they thought they had good odds. When a person starts slipping into debt because of their gambling, then spends more money than they have trying to recoup their losses, it becomes an issue for their livelihood and the well-being of their entire family.
Gambling debts also push the gambler into risky behavior. They might be coerced into doing illegal deeds on behalf of one or more people to whom they owe money. Sometimes, they get caught in the act and arrested. The arrest is usually a cause for a person to lose their job, which can have serious knock-on effects. In some cases, this might drive the gambler deeper into association with criminal organizations since those would be the only ones that would hire them. Their behavior change is another sign of their addiction.
One of the easiest ways to spot a chronic gambler is the attitude they take when someone raises their gambling as a problem. As with all other addictions, the gambler may attest that they can stop anytime they want to. The truth is that they have sunk so much money into gambling that they always feel as though they have to put more just to break even. This sort of thinking is known as the “Gambler’s Fallacy” or “Sunk Cost Fallacy,” where people believe that they need to put more money into something because they’ve already invested so much into it.
Features Of Gambling Addiction Treatment Centers
While some gambling treatment centers are cold and aloof, the best treatment centers tend to take gambling addiction as an individual psychological problem. Ideally, gambling addiction should be treated with other individuals who suffer from compulsive gambling. These groups have a better rapport when they are composed of individuals who share a similar disorder to bond over. What does a good gambling addiction center have?
- Low client-to-staff ratio: Individualized treatment requires staff that isn’t overwhelmed with other patients. A low staff-to-client ratio means that patients can get individualized care.
- Dual Diagnosis Treatment: In cases where a person’s compulsive behavior is linked to another mental condition, dual diagnosis ensures that the patient can simultaneously deal with both disorders.
- Trained Mental Health Professionals: Gambling addiction is a psychological addiction. Professionals trained in dealing with compulsive behaviors are the best option for these individuals to overcome their addictions.
- A Secure and Serene Location: Focus is at the core of overcoming gambling addiction. A safe, secure recovery location is crucial for helping someone leave their gambling addiction behind.
Is A Gambling Rehab Treatment Covered By My Insurance?
Compulsive gambling is a significant problem for some individuals. A compulsive gambler can’t operate without thinking about gambling. Many times, their behavior patterns adjust to ensure they have enough time to gamble. This adjustment usually impacts their ability to function in society. Insurance does cover mental health treatment, so gambling addiction may also fall under the umbrella of treatments that insurance might cover. However, the level of coverage depends on the insurance in question, the type of policy, and whether the facility is in-network.
Gambling recovery usually takes anywhere between one to three months. Longer, more acute cases may require more extended treatment periods, while insurance coverage may only offer to cover the first three months of the stay. While gambling addiction is still a relatively new diagnosis for a mental illness, some insurance providers may cover rehab under alcohol or substance use disorder. As such, they may compare gambling rehab to these types of treatments. Gambling addiction has been much more prominent in recent years, making it likely that the insurer will cover most of your rehab costs. The policy you pay for will have the details about what it does and doesn’t cover. A facility like Emerald Isle will be glad to help you sort out your insurance coverage details before you begin your stay with us.
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Beating The Shame and Stigma Around Compulsive Disorders
Compulsive disorders are typically more challenging to overcome than some physical diseases. Part of the reason lies in the shame and stigma associated with these disorders. Gambling addiction, for example, is a disorder that carries with it a significant stigma in society. A person who has a compulsion to gamble is challenging to trust in some cases because of their poor money management. They may also display a lack of responsibility since their priority in life is to gamble as much as possible. Gambling is more stigmatized than OCD, asthma, and depression as far as compulsive behavior goes. Society at large tends to shun those with a gambling addiction because it’s seen as something that a person can control. The general consensus of non-specialists is that gamblers deserve what they get because they know the risks.
Stigmatization obviously leads to shame on behalf of the compulsive gambler. This shame can weigh heavily on a person’s psyche. They may not even be willing to talk about their problem with a professional at first because of it. However, dealing with this shame is the first step in overcoming a gambling addiction. A person who wants to find a way out of their compulsive behavior needs to know how they can help themselves. Psychiatric tools such as behavioral therapies can give a person the tools to overcome their behavioral shortcomings and leave their shame behind. Unfortunately, this is an uphill battle sometimes. The attraction to compulsive behavior is very strong and harder to break since it’s easier to tell oneself that it’s not a real addiction. Accepting that there is a problem and wanting to change is the first step to overcoming the shame and stigma of compulsive gambling.
Overcoming Gambling Disorders Is Possible at Emerald Isle
Emerald Isle offers a unique place for someone with compulsive gambling disorder to rest, recover and leave their addiction behind. With our trained staff dealing with individualized treatment, and proven therapies used to help our patients, we’ll be sure you’ll get exactly what you need at our facilities. Give us a call today to plan your visit. We’ll be glad to hear from you!