Dealing with gambling addiction can be difficult and overwhelming for the addicted person and the loved ones. But reaching out to support groups for assistance can help your loved one to understand that they are not alone. In addition to seeking help, you can set boundaries about money management for the problem gambler to stay accountable and prevent relapse. After all, your first responsibility in managing the finances is your own safety and well-being. If you can, limit the amount of time the problem gambler spends gambling.
Problem gambling affects a person’s family life, finances, and even criminal activities. It can range from a mild problem to a more severe condition, and can become increasingly more problematic over time. Problem gambling is common, and people from all walks of life are susceptible to the problem. Common behaviors that indicate problem gambling include a preoccupation with gambling, a need to gamble increasingly large sums of money, and attempts to make up losses through gambling.
The National Council on Problem Gambling says that two percent of American adults have a problem gambling disorder. According to the organization, this number is even higher among people who regularly bet. In Connecticut alone, three employees of the organization are directly affected by the problem gambling habits of 58,000 people. Furthermore, as many as 1,000 people live in close proximity to a struggling addict, it’s important to seek help. If you or a loved one is struggling with problem gambling, you should consider getting treatment and working with a counselor.
Identifying a problem gambler
Identifying a problem gambler is not as difficult as many people think. Often times, it is enough for the person to admit that they have a gambling problem before they can receive help. Problem gamblers may not admit their problem because they believe they can win their losses back. However, there are a few symptoms that you should look for to determine whether your friend or loved one has a gambling problem.
Typically, problem gamblers are male, have a history of sensation seeking, and have poor coping skills. Problem gamblers may also have a parent who has a gambling problem. The DSM-IV uses a three-level threshold for identifying problem gamblers. However, other sources, such as Lesieur and Rosenthal, advocate that the cutoff should be lower. Ultimately, the DSM-IV and other sources recommend identifying problem gamblers using these criteria.
If you have an addiction to gambling, you may be wondering about your treatment options. Many addictions are difficult to treat and require the attention of mental health experts and healthcare professionals. There is no single treatment for gambling addiction, and you will need to find a program that fits your specific needs. There are several different types of rehab programs, and a private residential program is usually recommended. Individuals can choose from CBT, behavioral therapy, or holistic therapy.
Behavioral and cognitive therapy are two main treatment options for compulsive gambling. In these programs, you learn to identify negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. You may also consider family therapy. Apps are available that can be downloaded to your smartphone and can encourage healthy habits. The addiction AVERT app helps curb cravings, while BreakFree helps you spend less time on your smartphone. If you are unable to seek professional help for gambling, try self-help groups.