According to the National Gambling Impact Study, more than 125 million Americans gamble at least one time each year. For some it may be purchasing a lottery ticket, while for others it may be playing a slot machine in a Las Vegas casino. While most of the time these forms of gambling are harmless, for some people gambling has become an addiction rather than a mere game of chance. For those who find themselves addicted to gambling, I’d like to tell you about the many inpatient treatment programs available for gambling addiction treatment.
The Cold, Hard Facts
While gambling is sometimes looked upon by some as not a true addiction, the damage it inflicts on the lives of those with the addiction and their families says otherwise. For example, recent studies conducted by the National Institute of Health showed that over 2.5 million Americans are considered to be compulsive gamblers, with another 3 million categorized as problems gamblers and still another 15 million considered to be at risk of becoming problem or compulsive gamblers. Within the United States, more than $500 million is spent annually on various types of wagers, with 80 percent of adults admitting to gambling at least once in their lives. While the effects of gambling addiction take their toll on the addict, their families and friends also suffer. The NIH reports that families containing a gambling addict are much more likely to suffer from domestic violence and depression, while the children of gambling addicts have been found to suffer from such mental health issues as stress, depression, and eating disorders.
Benefits of Inpatient Treatment
For gambling addicts to truly recover from their addiction, the gambling addiction treatment program they choose must not only get their gambling addiction under control, but also examine the underlying problems that led to the addiction. In many cases, a gambling addict also has problems with drug and alcohol abuse. In some instances, they may also suffer from mood disorders, depression, and anti-social personality disorder. Therefore, a multi-pronged treatment program is used to help addicts overcome their problem. With many people, cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to change the gambler’s thinking, replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. And like drug and alcohol treatment, which many of these addicts undergo simultaneously, support groups as well as individual counseling are used to overcome the addiction. According to most experts, a compulsive gambler can never again be a normal gambler, so it’s imperative all underlying problems be addressed in order to eliminate the gambling problem.
Because they often have a stigma of weakness attached to them, gambling addictions often go untreated due to many people failing to come forward with their problem. However, for those who do, they and their families quickly find it is a decision they never regret. If you or someone you know suffers from a gambling addiction, I advise you that the best time to seek help is now. Inpatient treatment combining many different types of programs can be extremely effective, helping to end the cycle of misery.