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What We Treat

We treat a wide variety of addictions and conditions.

Gambling Addiction

Not all addictions are ones you can see. Some people suffer in silence and struggle to function on a daily basis because of their addictions. Gambling addictions can cost people more than just money, and it is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome because of the “fun” and “potential reward” that can come from placing bets, scratching lottery tickets and betting on sports teams. People who think they can beat the odds, or will have better luck next time can live in a perpetual cycle of hope and disappointment. The “rush” is what brings them back, but it can be devastating in the short and long term. Gambling addictions are often referred to as pathological gambling disorders, compulsive gambling disorders, and impulse-control disorders. Resurgence Behavioral Health knows that, like many other forms of addiction, gambling can happen to the most well-intentioned people, from all walks of life. What starts out as some fun on a Saturday night can turn into a nightmare for individuals and their families when addiction takes hold. What stings the most about gambling disorders is that people truly believe they may win money and hold out hope for beating the odds. The thing that characterizes a gambling addiction is that even when you know you can lose, you place the bet anyway. It’s a dangerous and slippery slope for people.

What are the Different Types of Gambling Addiction?

There are several different types of gambling addictions. The most commonly known form of gambling is casino playing, but there are other kinds such as compulsive lottery playing, buying raffle tickets, purchasing large lottery tickets, placing sporting bets, and online gambling.

Whether you are in person or online, if gambling has started to cause you problems, it has moved into an addiction. Gambling can be enjoyable for people who don’t have an addiction, but once the addiction takes hold it can be difficult to break away from it.

What Causes a Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addictions can come on slowly and over time. People enjoy the fun and excitement of gambling at a casino or online, and they like the feeling they get from playing the odds. In some cases, people use gambling as a way to be social and overcome anxiety or shyness about being in groups. When there is a common goal — to win money — people can feel more comfortable in larger crowds. What’s more, people will often use gambling as a way to number painful or unpleasant feelings or situations, just the same as a drug addict or alcoholic would. The feelings they arouse from playing slot machines or poker online can help create a sense of excitement and their bodies get a hit of dopamine that makes them feel physically better. Sometimes people are bored or lonely so they go online to play a few rounds of poker or place a few bets on a sporting event and it turns into a cycle of trying to make themselves feel better with gambling. People also turn to gambling when they are stressed out, bored, or trying to avoid issues in their lives. And finally, people to turn gambling, often in desperation, to try to solve existing money problems. Often, these money problems were caused by gambling addictions in the first place, and the sensation that they can be fixed is overwhelming, leading to more gambling and more destructive behavior.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction is not always as apparent as a drinking problem or a drug habit. Gambling can be done quietly in someone’s home, or in the back of a bar where no one can see what is happening. There are no physical way to tell if someone has a gambling problem really, unlike drugs or alcohol. It is a lonely addiction and one that can cause many problems. There are a number of signs that you may have a gambling addiction including:

  • You have increased the amount of money you typically gamble with
  • You get irritable when you try to stop gambling or reduce the amount of money you can play with
  • You have tried to stop gambling already and were not success
  • You seek out ways to get money to gamble including taking cash advances from credit cards, borrowing money from friends or family, or avoid paying bills in order to gamble with that money
  • You try to recoup your losses with more gambling
  • You relive exciting wins over and over
  • The loss of relationships or jobs because of your gambling
  • Lying about your gambling habits

Emotional Side Effects of Gambling

There are a number of psychological side effects of gambling that can take a toll on a person. These include depression, anxiety, irritability, mood disorders, and even suicidal thoughts. People can also suffer from the irrational belief they can “beat the system,” feeling desperate, and alone.

Physical Side Effects of Gambling

The physical side effects of gambling are often overlooked because the person is too busy focusing on their addiction to realize that it is actually causing them physical health problems. These can include sleep deprivation from hyper focusing, depression, and anxiety. Other physical side effects can include weight loss, acne, dark circles around the eyes, gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

What are the Short-term and Long-term Effects of Gambling?

The short-term effects of gambling are related to loss of money, inability to pay bills, and regret and guilt over losing money. What’s more, gamblers are more susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol to dull the feelings of losing money. Self-medicating can lead to long-term effects that go beyond the gambling addiction and present another world of problems for the addict. The long-term effects of gambling including losing everything a person has; gamblers will continue gambling even when there is a risk to their livelihood, which makes gambling so dangerous. Many families have been torn apart because one partner gambled life savings, racked up credit cards, and took out loans to continue their habit.

How Can You Know if You Have a Gambling Addiction?

The toughest part about being a gambling addict is that you might not recognize you are suffering from an actual addiction. Despite reading the signs and symptoms, you might still believe that you are just having a little fun and enjoying yourself. This is what makes addiction dangerous. The best way to determine if you have a gambling addiction is to talk to professional about your gambling habits and be honest with yourself about your ability to walk away from a “cold table” or leave money in your pocket at the end of the night. No one can know for sure whether you have a gambling addiction if you don’t talk to someone. Chances are if you think you might have a problem, you likely do. It’s important to speak to the staff at Resurgence Behavioral Health to help you identify your addiction correctly so you can start working toward managing your money in a healthy way again.

What are the Treatment Options Available for Gambling Addictions?

Gambling addiction can be difficult to treat because people need to be willing to give up a lot of control when it comes to their own money. There are many recommended methods for treatment including individual therapy, group therapy, counseling, money management classes, given up total control over your money, family therapy, medication for compulsive disorders, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Counseling

Counseling and therapy can be an effective way to cope with gambling addiction and to overcome urges that persist. By talking to a professional, you can identify your triggers for gambling and begin to work through the issues that drove you to gamble in the first place.

Medication

There are a number of medicines that can be prescribed to help with the compulsion piece of gambling addiction, mood stabilizers, antidepressants and more. These include opioid antagonist drugs as well as hyperactivity drugs.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works by helping people to refocus their minds and align their thoughts with their desired behaviors. Over time, this type of therapy can help people recognize triggers in their lives and readjust their ideas to deal with those triggers and create the outcome they want: in this case, avoid gambling urges.

What are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Gambling Addiction?

You might think that people with gambling addiction could just avoid gambling and be cured. The truth is that people experience a number of physical and emotional symptoms during withdrawal that can require medical intervention and treatment at a facility such as Resurgence Behavioral Health. These include irritability, anxiety, restlessness, cravings to gamble, and significant mood changes. Other physical symptoms of withdrawal include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sleeplessness, muscle pain, and the abuse of other things such as drugs or alcohol. While in treatment centers like Resurgence, the person will be under constant care and will not have access to means to self-medicate, such as drugs or alcohol.

Depression and Gambling

Gambling addiction can get the best of anyone. It is not selective when it comes to who can become addicted to gambling. People from all walks of life, with all levels of income have found themselves addicted to gambling. This can cause lots of pain and anguish for individuals and their families. Often people who suffer from depression are susceptible to gambling addictions, and people who suffer from gambling addictions are vulnerable to depression. Depression can spur on a whole host of other problems for someone who has a gambling problem

Getting Help

If you or a loved one are suffering from a form of gambling addiction, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. The sooner you get your gambling habits under control, the sooner you can get back to living your life. Contact Resurgence Behavioral Health today to talk to one of our helpful and knowledgeable staff members to discuss how we can help you overcome gambling addiction.

 

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