Gambling addiction treatment at Centres for Health and Healing

Gambling Addiction

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Gambling addiction not only harms your wallet but can also significantly damage your mental and physical well-being.

Mental health professionals refer to gambling addiction as a ‘process’ or ‘behavioural’ addiction.

In most cases, gambling often starts as harmless fun. However, like substance addiction, chronic gambling can quickly become a dependency, impacting your life in ways you never imagined.

Here, we will explore gambling addiction, its symptoms, and effective treatments that can help.

Let’s get started.

How does a gambling addiction form?

The human brain contains specific chemicals that can be released in response to certain stimuli, including dopamine.

These chemicals are released in response to something pleasurable or rewarding, such as eating something you enjoy, having sex or engaging in social interactions.

However, this chemical process can also occur when a person engages in other behaviours, such as winning at gambling. This is what causes some people to crave more of that winning feeling and keep gambling even when it is no longer fun or rewarding.

How does pathological gambling develop?

There are various reasons why a person may engage in this type of addictive behaviour. 

Although the end game is usually to win, there are many factors involved in gambling addiction, including:

  • The ‘high’ that comes from betting
  • The exciting atmosphere of the gambling scene
  • A desperate need for money

As you can see, the prospect of ‘winning’ at gambling is only one aspect of what causes a person to engage in this behaviour.

Problem gambling

The ‘high’ an individual experiences when gambling is just one of the reasons they keep playing even when it’s no longer rewarding.

Over time, a person may crave more of that winning feeling and continue gambling despite the negative consequences to their health, finances and relationships.

Risk factors for developing a gambling addiction

Research shows that certain people are more genetically predisposed to developing a gambling addiction than others.

For example, if one of your family members struggles with gambling addiction, you may also be at higher risk of developing the same condition.

In addition, if you live with someone with a gambling problem, you might also be more likely to develop a gambling addiction.

Other factors that may put you at risk of gambling addiction include the following:

  • Mental health problems: Studies show those who compulsively gamble often have other mental health problems, including bipolar disorder, personality disorders, substance abuse issues, depression and anxiety.
  • Specific personality characteristics: Gambling addiction may affect those with certain personality traits, such as impulsive thrill seekers, workaholics, and people who get bored quickly.
  • Gender: Research shows compulsive gambling is more prevalent in men than women.

Symptoms of gambling addiction

If you or someone you know has any of the following symptoms, there’s a high chance you may have a gambling addiction. Early treatment can help you avoid the risks associated with compulsive gambling. 

Speaking to an experienced professional about your gambling concerns is the first step to getting the help and support you need and deserve.

Symptoms of gambling addiction may include:

  • Restlessness or irritability when attempting to reduce or stop gambling
  • Increased gambling
  • Spending too much time gambling
  • Needing to gamble with increasing amounts of cash
  • Gambling to escape problems or alleviate negative or painful emotions
  • Gambling even when you don’t have any money
  • Loss of control over how much you gamble (called compulsive gambling)
  • Continuing to gamble despite losing money repeatedly
  • Putting important relationships at risk by borrowing money from loved ones and not giving it back or choosing to gamble instead of spending quality time with loved ones
  • Engaging in criminal activity such as burglary or theft to obtain enough money to gamble

You may have a gambling disorder if you have more than one of the above symptoms.

Gambling addiction and mental health treatment in Ontario

Fortunately, various treatments can help those with gambling addiction, including cognitive behavioural therapy, psychotherapy, support groups, and medication.

Centres for Health and Healing provide personalised addiction and mental health treatment to those with gambling addiction.

We work with clients to create a bespoke addiction program that suits each individual’s needs, preferences and treatment goals. 

Our addiction and mental health treatment programs include a combination of the following:

Contact our friendly team for further information and support on gambling addiction.

Is a gambling addiction dangerous?

Like any addiction, gambling addiction can cause multiple issues and challenges for the individual and their loved ones. 

In the short term, gambling addiction may cause an individual to experience specific health problems, including:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Intense cravings or urges to gamble
  • Loss of appetite, leading to weight loss

If gambling addiction is left untreated, these short-term effects can lead to long-term health problems, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Increased risk of suicide
  • Relationship problems

Is there a way to prevent someone from developing a gambling addiction?

Studies show that educational resources and programs that target those at risk of gambling addiction can be helpful.

If you or someone you know is at risk of developing a gambling disorder, seeking treatment may help you avoid the health risks associated with this behavioural addiction.

Gambling addiction is a severe mental health condition that can destroy lives, but fortunately, recovery is possible with proper treatment and support.

Treatment for a gambling addiction

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have a gambling addiction, you must seek professional help.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

One of the most effective treatments for gambling addiction is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

CBT teaches you how to identify and cope with any negative thoughts, allowing you to replace them with more positive ones.

In addition, CBT has proven to be the most effective treatment for gambling addiction since it helps individuals address any maladaptive thoughts and behavioural patterns that may have led to compulsive gambling in the first place. This treatment also teaches those in recovery healthy coping skills.

As well as cognitive behavioural therapy, studies show that 12-step programs and support groups are effective for treating gambling addiction.

Medication

Some people may need medication for gambling addiction.

If appropriate, some medicines can be prescribed by your doctor. 

Medication for gambling addiction may include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antianxiety drugs 
  • Mood stabilisers

How Centres for Health and Healing can help with gambling addiction

Gambling addiction is a severe mental health problem that must be taken seriously.

Studies show that around two million people in the United States have some form of gambling addiction. This condition can severely impair a person’s daily functioning and quality of life.

At Centres for Health and Healing, our addiction therapy and rehab programs provide a unique, personalised approach to addiction and mental health recovery.

With our strategic approach, mixed therapeutic methods and staff with decades of knowledge and experience, Centres for Health and Healing can provide the setting, resources and tools necessary for deep transformational healing and a full recovery from gambling addiction.

Our addiction and mental health treatment programs have a high success rate, with comprehensive aftercare and support to ensure that each person continues to receive the support they need long after completing treatment. 

We are happy to provide any further information you may need about gambling or any other form of addiction treatment to help you make an informed decision about your recovery.

We know how challenging taking those initial steps to recovery can be. Still, once you begin experiencing the benefits of treatment, you will feel more relaxed and confident about your decision.

We are here and ready to help you on your journey to wellness and recovery. 

Now is the time to get help for gambling addiction, and we are here to guide you every step of the way. Contact our treatment centre in Ontario today.

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