What to Do if Addicted to Gambling

Addicted to Gambling

Compulsive gambling is a disease and the sad reality is that there is no cure for it. Not only does gambling affect the person who is addicted, but it also affects the lives of those around them as well. Whether you are gambling all the time, binge gambling, or just can’t stop, the time to seek help is now.

What to Do if Addicted to Gambling


Gambling is a disease that is progressive and gets worse and worse over time. It is a disease of the mind and an obsession of the mind. Although it’s not easy, it is important that a problem gambler stops gambling immediately. The good news is that there are treatment options available. The first step towards recovery is banning yourself from entering all casinos near you. The next step is to get yourself into a recovery program.

12 Step Programs

Recovery programs such as Gamblers Anonymous (GA) 12 Step Program are available to help compulsive gamblers overcome their addiction. This type of program has an extremely high success rate and follows the same model as Alcoholics Anonymous. It is especially helpful if you are unable to afford a rehabilitation program.

Gamblers Anonymous helps gamblers build a strong network of support and friendships with other recovering gambling addicts working through the 12 Step Program. When you join GA, you will meet either online or in physical groups daily or weekly to support one another, and share your experiences. Members will share how they have, or are, recovering from their gambling addiction. Those who have been in the Gamblers Anonymous program for a while can help guide newer members on their journey. Contact Gamblers Anonymous Nebraska for more information.

Inpatient Program

Inpatient programs are available for gamblers who feel they need structured treatment at a facility to overcome their gambling addiction. For gamblers whose gambling disorder is completely out of control and has made their lives unmanageable, this type of treatment facility can be especially helpful. Most inpatient programs require patients to stay in the treatment facility for a set amount of time, usually 28 days. However, there are facilities offering longer stays, up to 12 months. Once the gambling addiction treatment facility stay is over, it is best to join a local group for continued support.

Outpatient Rehabilitation Program

Another option for gambling addicts is outpatient treatment programs. This type of gambling recovery program is great for people with gambling addictions who cannot afford inpatient facilities. An outpatient rehabilitation program is like an inpatient program, however, addicts do not stay at the facility. Instead, gambling addicts will go through the program at a rehab facility while living at home and continuing with their daily activities. People who are addicted to gambling can also attend group sessions and individual therapy sessions. They are also encouraged to regularly attend outside group meetings for extra support.

Lifestyle Choices and Changes

People who are addicted to gambling must make lifestyle changes. With the right treatment, gambling addiction can be stopped. Although addicts will never be cured, they can recover. A person recovering from a gambling addiction must learn how to have a healthy and balanced relationship with money. First, they must learn how to pay off their gambling debts. Then, they will need to learn how to make amends for the relationships that have been affected.

Once the initial treatment phase is completed it is encouraged that they join the international Gamblers Anonymous organization for online or local group meetings. There, addicts will find a sponsor who is a recovering addict with more clean time. This person will guide help the newcomer on their new journey through life without gambling. This is a great opportunity to develop friendships and meet people who are walking down a similar road to recovery.

Additional Reading: Nebraska Gamblers Assistance

Counseling & Therapy

Working one-on-one with a therapist, the compulsive gambler strengthens the motivation to stop gambling, identifies triggers and dysfunctional coping strategies, and learns how to deal with stresses and triggers in more effective, productive ways. Therapists utilize modalities such as Motivational Interviewing (MI), a collaborative approach that engages both the client and therapist in an effort to overcome addiction.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT addresses the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that lead to problem gambling. In cognitive-behavioral therapy, your therapist or counselor will help you learn a number of tools, such as thought reframing or cognitive reframing, that will help you reframe thoughts when you are experiencing triggers related to gambling. Thought to reframe can help you engage with a rational mind and can both support you when a trigger arises and support you in relapse prevention long-term.

The sooner an individual with this disorder gets help, the greater the chances of restoring health and avoiding damage to the family. Like alcoholism, drug addiction, and other forms of addictive behavior, gambling addiction can be treated in the right setting, with the guidance of a multidisciplinary team of professionals. A program dedicated to treating the symptoms and behaviors associated with pathologic gambling is the most effective means of recovery.

Blue Sky Counseling Omaha – Mental Health Counseling

I, Carly Spring, M.S., LIMHP, LADC, CPC, offer my specialized expertise to assist in the healing process to anyone who may be experiencing and suffering from a vast spectrum of mental health issues. Such mental health issues include behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, grief, loss, trauma, addiction issues, and life transitions. I believe strongly in applying a holistic perspective addressing your whole person not just the bits and pieces of you. Contact us with any questions or to discuss gambling addiction services in Omaha today.

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