Throughout the U.S., millions of people have been able to get help for their drinking problems. While the treatment resources might be impacted from time to time, there are always ways for people with drinking problems to find a path towards recovery. Unfortunately, the same is not true for people with a gambling problem. While compulsive gambling is also a significant problem in the U.S., there are not near as many resources available to treat compulsive gamblers. That leaves compulsive gamblers to seek help through counseling or to try to get the help they need through Gamblers Anonymous, the problem gambler’s version of Alcoholics Anonymous. To be clear, compulsive gambling has the capacity to destroy lives in much the same way as alcohol. When someone ends up going off the deep end when gambling, they can leave an incredibly disturbing trail of collateral damage behind them. Take a look at these signs of someone who has a significant compulsive gambling problem:
- Experiencing anxiety when not gambling
- Need to bet increasing amounts of money to get the desired effect
- Deep financial problems
- Obsession with finding money to gamble
- Lost hours from school and work due to gambling
- Strained relationships with family members and friends
- Lying to conceal gambling behaviors
- Using gambling to cope with depression and disappointments
- Illicit behavior such as illegal gambling
Clearly, some of these signs are quite similar to the signs exhibited by someone with a drinking problem. Since that’s true, it should make sense that the treatment methods used for alcoholics would be similar to the treatment methods a gambling addiction therapist might use. The question is, “where does a compulsive gambler go to get help?”
Are Treatment Centers for Alcohol Also Able to Help with a Gambling Addiction?
Given the absence of plentiful treatment resources for someone with a gambling addiction, the compulsive gambler needs to think outside of the box. The ones with significant gambling problems really need a high-level form of treatment in a residential treatment program.
To answer the titled question, yes, a lot of top alcohol treatment centers are able to help people with a gambling problem, especially if the individual is suffering from both addictions, which happens quite often. Under the best circumstances, an alcohol rehab facility might actually have a staff therapist who has experience in the problem gambling realm. If not, counseling someone with a gambling problem is not materially different than counseling any other type of addiction sufferer.
In fact, it might be a little easier. It’s important to remember that people with a gambling problem don’t need time to detox. What they need is time to distance themselves from the horrible desire to gamble. The real focus of treatment for gambling addiction is therapy. The compulsive gambler needs to dig into themselves to get into the root causes of why they feel the need to risk their welfare for the sake of a few bets. It’s kind of like they strike at themselves every time they place a wager. To be clear, finding the root causes is of vital importance.
An understanding of the desire to gamble opens the door to solutions. What solutions? Just like the person who suffers from alcoholism, compulsive gamblers need better coping and life skills. They need good coping skills to navigate a society where gambling is fast becoming a premium form of adult entertainment. While getting treatment in an alcohol addiction center, compulsive gamblers tend to blend in well when participating in group therapy sessions and 12 Step meetings. That’s further confirmation that both types of addiction are similar. After therapy, the recovering compulsive gambler usually gravitates to Gamblers Anonymous.
However, they benefit by knowing that AA meetings can be just as useful as a GA meeting. That matters a lot in small communities where the number of GA meetings could be very limited. We already know it’s easy to find AA meetings no matter where someone might live. If you have a gambling addiction and can’t find a gambling specific rehab center, it’s worth your time and effort to try to get help at a center that treats alcohol addiction sufferers. In fact, our facility has on occasion brought in compulsive gamblers who didn’t drink. If you would like to know more about our facility and addiction treatment services, you can contact one of our administrators at 833-820-2922.