Gambling Addiction Counseling
Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge
When you or a loved one needs help to break an addiction to gambling activities, please consider the effective therapy methods offered by the experienced staff and therapists at Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge. We provide a safe, caring environment where men can address the issues that led to problem gambling activities, and find real help and healing. We also help individuals improve family relationships, and return to everyday life as a better person.
Recognizing an Addiction to Gambling
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, problem gambling affects more than 2 percent of Americans. If you have a gambling addiction, you may feel an uncontrollable urge to buy lottery tickets, visit casinos, play slot machines, bet on sports, or gamble online. The specific type and frequency of your gambling behavior may vary. But in general, you will be unable to control that behavior. You will continue gambling, even in the face of negative social, financial, or legal consequences.
The majority of people with gambling addictions are men. But this type of addiction can also affect women.
“Addiction is manifested in several ways,” says addict-turned-counselor Ryan Cain, “First, the concept of craving, or in the case of gambling, obsession, begins. Second, an individual becomes powerless over their addictions and loses control. Third, an addicted person will continue to act out despite negative consequences.”
When you have a gambling addiction, an area of your brain called the insula may be overactive. This hyperactive region may lead to distorted thinking. This can cause you to see patterns in random sequences and continue gambling after near misses.
Your brain may respond to the act of gambling in the same way that an alcoholic’s brain responds to a drink. The more you feed your habit, the worse it will become.
Any type of gambling — whether racing, bingo, card games, dice games, lottery, slots, and sports betting — can become problematic. However, some types of gambling have particular characteristics that may intensify the problem and the consequences.
Reports indicate that a significant risk factor may be a fast speed of play. Types of games where there is a short time between placing a bet and seeing the results present a higher risk for players. This happens with slot machines, for instance.
Signs and symptoms of compulsive gambling include:
- Preoccupation with gambling
- An increase in the amount of money you need to gamble in order to maintain the thrill
- Failure to cut back or quit gambling
- Gambling to escape problems
- Lying about the extent of your gambling
- Jeopardizing relationships, work, or responsibilities because of gambling
- Relying on others to bail you out because you gambled the money away
The Mayo Clinic says, “Unlike most casual gamblers who stop when losing or set a loss limit, people with a compulsive gambling problem are compelled to keep playing to recover their money — a pattern that becomes increasingly destructive over time.”
The first step in treating gambling addiction, as with any addiction, is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Addressing the issue is the first step towards recovery and change. There are a variety of methods to help treat gambling addiction.
A recovery program, one-on-one counseling, medication, and lifestyle changes may help you overcome your gambling addiction. If you don’t treat your gambling problem, it can lead to serious financial issues. It can also negatively affect your relationships with family members, friends, and others. Effective treatment can help you avoid these consequences and mend your relationships through recovery.
FIND HELP NOW at Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge
If you or a loved one struggles with a gambling addiction, please give us a call now. We understand how difficult it may be to ask for help, but we have seen many men and women go through our licensed recovery programs and find the help they needed. Contact us today to learn more about our program, led by experienced staff and therapists, (414) 748-4357. We look forward to speaking with you.