Gambling is a fun and exhilarating way to make money and enjoy oneself. Gambling’s origins go far back in the past, to the European Elites, Greeks, and many others as a way to pass the time. These days gambling takes place in casinos, bars, and online platforms from the comfort of our homes. Bettors often can’t play and leave it when they’re finished or their budget is up. It tends to progress to the extreme where it becomes an obsession and an addiction is then developed.
Over the years, the concept of addiction has been reevaluated. There is never one sole reason that causes addiction, nor is there one way to treat addiction. Gambling addiction tends to be the most difficult to notice and challenging to treat. It takes longer to be seen by those around an addict. It’s not as simple to withdraw as it is with most other addictions. This entire article will look at some critical points of gambling addiction and the treatments one can undergo to cure oneself of gambling addiction.
Unlike substance abuse or alcoholism, gambling addiction isn’t so recognizable. Gambling addiction is more of psychological and emotional dependence. It leaves little to no evidence to those who come across someone with such an addiction. When someone has a compulsive gambling addiction, depression and suicidal thoughts become part of their life. A gambler typically starts to get used to suppressing those emotions and the emotional anguish that they’re experiencing.
For gamblings addicts, a part of their brain called the insula might be overactive. The hyperactive region can lead to distorted thinking. The mind of an addict can respond to gambling the exact way that a substance abuser or an alcoholic’s mind sometimes responds to drugs or alcohol. The more one uses, drinks, or gambles, the worse the addiction becomes.
One of the most significant issues in life would be the damage it causes to their relationships. An addict often starts lying about where money is spent. Moreover, a person addicted to gambling tries to get money illegally when they are low on cash. Stealing is a part that causes damage because an addict would usually steal from those close to them. Trust gets destroyed between an addict and their loved ones.
The people who love an addict tend to go through major depression themselves. Guilt and self-blame take place, which causes even more emotional damage. When an addict tries to mend those broken relations, they learn that they will need to accept accountability for their actions. Earning back the trust that they broke throughout their addiction is complicated and sometimes impossible to bear. However, those trying to recover need to rely on their will and different coping strategies to begin to make tough choices.
There are numerous ways that addiction can be treated. One can choose between treatment centers, counseling, 12-step programs, medications, hypnosis, various support groups, etc. The preferred method of help largely depends on the person itself and to the extent of their respective addictive behaviors.
There are so many different ways of looking for help for any addiction. Gambling addiction is also among those addictions in which treatment needs to be consistent with the severity of the addiction. Also, the choice of treatment depends mainly on how deep and drastic the habit has developed. In other words, there are residential, inpatient, and outpatient treatment facilities. Another fact that is considered when deciding the best treatment is how much someone can pay for the treatment.
Primary care treatment facilities are usually inpatient, which means they stay at these facilities for a short period. An addict would live on the premises, go to the necessary counseling, and do everyday chores to maintain a routine. In addition, an addict will also be expected to go to classes that teach healthy coping mechanisms regarding stresses or traumatic events. Inpatients at a treatment facility aren’t always allowed things like cell phones, nor can they leave the premises without it being previously arranged. They are also allowed to leave only with a trusted person, such as a parent, child, or a very close friend. Classes or one-on-one counseling sessions are mandatory for all residents. This is to help each person to find the cause of their respective addiction.
In severe cases of gambling addiction, addicts are placed in inpatient centers and then in residential centers. Inpatient treatment is usually short-termed but highly intensive, 24/7 care in a hospital or specialized part of one center. On the other hand, residential treatment is for a more extended period, but with less supervision, in a more relaxing environment. This allows an addict to quit gambling willingly.
Outpatient residential treatment is more for those who are mildly addicted to gambling because they stay at their own home, so they go to the centers daily. There is less supervision than in those two centers mentioned above, so the addict could quickly and easily return to his previous gambling habit. On the other hand, it’s often the most affordable method of treatment.
There are pros and cons to all these three ways of treatment. The family of an addict or other people close to an addict should consider the best treatment option and find an affordable center to help an addict stop gambling.
Discussing past trauma is the main topic during counseling at a center. Whether it is small or big trauma, trauma is trauma and affects everyone. Human minds are sensitive, and even the slightest events can have a devastating long-term effect on their minds that, if left undealt with, reaps devastating situations that don’t just affect addicts. These far-reaching effects also affect everyone in their lives.
In many situations, functional addicts still have responsibilities. They can’t book into a treatment center because of these obligations. When one has duties and does not have an option of an inpatient treatment center, then a counseling route is taken. Deciding to see a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, clinical social worker, or even an addiction counselor can help in so many ways. Talking to someone who has dealt with addiction and trauma would be the most efficient route. They are in a position to assist, not only because they have experienced it, but because they have seen every type of situation imaginable.
Usually, a session lasts between 40 minutes and 60 minutes. A session takes place anywhere between once a week to three times a week. The sessions discuss main topics such as past trauma, family conflicts, addiction, anxiety, and depression. These sessions help because someone in recovery can feel relief when they talk about their problems to someone paying attention to what is being said.
Addiction is like most diseases in which it isn’t the cause; it’s itself a symptom of underlying issues that manifests itself in a destructive way. One should be patient and determined during the treatment process as well as after it.
There are 12 steps they need to pass through during this way of treatment. These 12-step programs originate from Alcoholic Anonymous, and it is modified for the needs of those addicted to gambling. In all these steps, addicts are guided and encouraged to speak freely about what they have done, how they felt, and other things they want to share anonymously . Gamblers Anonymous (GA), or any other type of program, is an excellent way to connect with others who understand what every addict may be going through. They often have meetings to discuss each individual’s progress, uplift each other, and encourage each other when needed. It’s a network of other recovering gambling addicts who share the same goal, and that is to be free from their addiction and rebuild their lives and family relationships.
Not everyone at Gamblers Anonymous is currently on the straight and narrow. However, they are all welcome and supported until they want to change their lifestyle and path. When approaching these types of meetings, one can become quite intimidated and even agitated because others convey the harsh truths that they often avoid or ignore. No matter how hard it is to open oneself in front of strangers, one should keep in mind that all those strangers have something in common with them and that common thing is gambling addiction. These group gatherings with strangers can help addicts realize what they have done to their lives and the people around them, and how to correct it.
In the most extreme cases, medication is used to help the person dealing with this problem. Gambling addiction may stem from underlying mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar personality disorder. Therefore, some treatments include medications, and they can be helpful when taken as prescribed by a medical professional. One must be very cautious when taking these types of medicines due to their possible side effects. One should consult with highly skilled medical professionals which medications are suitable for an addict.
Few people would like to take this route. Still, when a person has an underlying mental health issue, this can cause them to make irrational decisions and become aggravated and depressed. Mental health problems shouldn’t be taken lightly but they’re also not anything to be ashamed of. Even though there is such a stigma attached to mental health, it’s like most diseases and can get treated with proper medication to help people cope with life situations.
Some of the most used medications for depression are Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, Tricyclic antidepressants, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Tricyclic and Monoamine types of antidepressants are known to be some of the oldest types used for depression. Usually, these medications are used after one of the newer medications is found to have no effect. A drug very commonly known as Prozac falls under the selective serotonin reuptake category. This specific range of medications has a low level of side effects, unlike many other antidepressants or anxiety medications.
Even though there are medications for helping in this treatment of addiction, one shouldn’t rely only on them as an only way of help. It would be better for an addict to have proper treatment within support groups and counselling. These medications should be taken only in severe cases to ease the troubled mind of an addict.
Often, a person will be required to make some drastic yet necessary changes in their life. Those who are at the beginning of treatment will need to remain accountable to someone they trust to ensure that they pay their bills and attend commitments and that they regularly come to work. This accountability partner will usually be a close friend, a parent, or a wife or husband. Staying accountable to another person is a big part of the recovery process when recovering from any addiction, and gambling addiction is no different in that sense.
One of the subsequent changes will be to stay clear of bars and casinos where gambling slots, sports gambling, and card games are played and avoid drinking alcohol (as that usually goes hand in hand with gambling). These sorts of surroundings make it easier to get back to gambling again, and their addiction problem starts over. All efforts put into one’s full recovery will be in vain if one stick entirely to their recovery plan. Whether a recovering drug addict, a recovering alcoholic, or a recovering gambling addict, it’s advised not to consume alcohol as this is the easiest way to relapse when you become inebriated.
A saying goes, “people, places, and things can become our downfall.” What this ultimately means is that those triggers can cause relapse. Therefore, those that are in recovery often cut off old friends who had a negative influence, which reminds them of their addiction. They may stop going to their old hang-out spots and stop associating things in their new life with something in their old lifestyle. No matter how hard it is to avoid certain people, one should have in mind that a real friend can’t be someone who pulls us back into the abyss of addiction.
Hypnosis is considered a very productive way of dealing with underlying issues that a person doesn’t usually want to deal with.This form of therapy helps a person to reach down into its subconscious mind to bring up things in its life that one has forgotten or suppressed, things that caused a person to fall into the trap of addiction. It enables an addict to remember, make peace, and let go of old wounds one has feared facing.
Although not everyone is fond of the idea of someone putting them in a sleep state and getting information from them, this is one way in which one can’t lie to themselves or those around them since the truth is revealed in a hypnosis state. Therefore, this could be one of the better forms of treatment for those willing to try it.
Addiction Relapse Prevention
When someone leaves primary care, it’s very often that they go into a secondary care facility where they can look for jobs and live as expected while still having the support of other recovering addicts and counsellors. Unfortunately, many people do not stay at a sober living house after leaving at a primary care facility, and therefore, there is no slow reintegration back into society. Often, when someone leaves a primary care facility, they go home and return to the lifestyle they went into treatment for. Relapse prevention is reaching out when an addict feels they may have a slip-up, including protecting themself from a possible slip-up.
For some addicts, it’s easier said than done. When someone feels that they may relapse, they need to contact their sponsor and accountability partner as soon as they feel the urge to slip, because prevention is ultimately better than cure. However, one should ask for immediate help before it is too late.
Coping and Support Afterward
There are different skills to learn in recovery that would help with fighting the urge to relapse. Addicts need to remind themselves that just one time is never one time, and that it’s inevitable that compulsive gambling will take over. Stay focused on staying busy and occupied. A bored recovering addict is not a good thing, as that leaves room for their minds to wander around in circles and reminisce on their gambling days. Another important way to avoid a relapse is to remain aware of what one’s life was during addiction and that they won’t get another chance and support from their loved ones. Recognize risky situations and avoid those situations in the future.
Addicts need to remember that they are not alone in the struggle, and they don’t have to suffer in silence. There are many platforms and social media support groups and even face-to-face support groups. They just need to face their weakness, reach out and ask for the help they want and know what they need. No one should feel embarrassed or ashamed for asking for help.
Gambling does not always tend to show physical symptoms. Unlike drugs and alcohol that show weight loss, hyper activeness, and erratic behavior, gambling addiction shows other signs that are not always visible to anyone unless they’re directly involved with the person. Gambling addiction shows some form of physical symptoms such as dark rings around the eyes, pale skin, acne, and weight loss or gain, all due to sleep deprivation. In some extreme cases, addicts can become aggressive and harm others around them. However, the following signs are the most common:
Addiction has a devastating effect on an addict and people around him. The world of gambling lures in so many people and puts them in a fragile and vulnerable place. It gives them an illusion that they are winning, when in fact, they are losing. Everything is gone and lost and can’t be returned. Money that could be wisely spent; time that could be spent with their loved ones; most friends abandoned them; family ties are broken, and addicts feel lost and become a shadow of who they once were.
There are so many stories of millionaires losing their mansions, cars, businesses and, their partners and kids leave as well. When they are suffering, they must ask for help instead of surrendering oneself to self-destruction. It’s necessary to accept the help when it’s offered, and maintain the recovery journey. This is the only way if one wants to return to life without addiction.
For those that want to play, they should set a reasonable budget for those games and hold on to that plan. This way a player won’t become addicted, and can still enjoy lottery games.
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