At Ballen Medical and Wellness, gambling addiction is approached from a holistic perspective where the focus is placed on treating the individual as a whole person, without judgment–healing the body, mind, and spirit. Gambling addiction is a very real and dangerous compulsion that 2 million people in the United States face. Defined as an uncontrollable urge to continue gambling despite the toll it takes on one’s work, personal and social life, gambling addiction is an impulse control disorder that occurs worldwide. Similar to drugs and alcohol, gambling stimulates the brain’s reward system, releasing dopamine in the brain. Identifying the underlying cause is the first step towards treating gambling addiction. With judgment-free support, our Psychiatry and Counseling team will help you or your loved ones to develop coping skills and techniques that will ultimately change habits and promote relapse prevention.
Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
Being preoccupied with gambling and having an uncontrollable urge to continue gambling can be dangerous not only for your relationships and job but for your financial stability and overall health. In cases of addiction, this impulse to gamble will persist despite the toll it takes on one’s life. Gambling addiction is differentiated from casual gambling by the individual’s inability to stop gambling, even when one has set a loss limit. Instead, addicts will continue to gamble, hoping to recover their money, eventually leading to even more money lost. If you or a loved one are struggling with any of these symptoms of gambling addiction, it may be time to seek help.
Symptoms can include:
- Increasing the amount of money one gambles with in order to achieve the same thrill
- Unable to effectively cut back or stop gambling, despite the destructive effects it has
- Gambling as a coping mechanism for feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, or depression
- Gambling with the intention of earning back lost money
- Engaging in theft or fraud in order to acquire more money to gamble with
- Experiencing feelings of restlessness and irritability when unable to gamble
On average, the debt that a gambling addict owes is between $40,000 and $70,000. Gambling can put an immense amount of financial stress on the individual and the family. It is not uncommon for suffering addicts to have to declare bankruptcy, lose their homes, or resort to illegal activities such as theft and fraud. Not only can gambling strain relationships, but it can have serious health and emotional effects on the individual. It is not uncommon for gambling addicts to develop:
- Chronic stress
- Drug and alcohol abuse
Treating a gambling addiction is, in some ways, much like treating substance addiction. Alcoholics increase the amount of alcohol they ingest over time, while substance users increase doses to get high. Similarly, gambling addicts pursue riskier and riskier ventures, betting larger amounts of money to receive the same pleasure they once did. A study conducted by the Harvard School Division on Addicts demonstrated that “Monetary reward in a gambling-like experiment produces brain activation very similar to that observed in a cocaine addict receiving an infusion of cocaine.”
At Ballen Medical and Wellness, we offer a variety of services that can help you or your loved one overcome gambling addiction. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a proven, effective way to combat addiction. Through retraining your response to negative and inaccurate thoughts and perceptions, in just 10-20 sessions CBT can help you restructure destructive thought patterns and behaviors. Paired with Individual Therapy and Group Therapy, coping skills will be developed, which will ultimately help aid in relapse prevention and temptation. When it comes to gambling addiction, help is out there and it is never too late to get on the right track to leading a happy and healthy life.
Reach Out Today!
There is no reason to spend another day struggling with the highs, lows, and perils of gambling addiction. At Ballen Medical and Wellness, our staff is equipped to help you overcome this addiction, to lead a happy and healthy life. If you or a loved one are struggling, do not hesitate to call us at (720) 738-8531 or fill out the form below!