Gambling Addiction Treatment in Huntington Beach
Gambling addiction can have negative consequences in your life, sometimes leading to broken families and friendships, job loss, legal troubles, and financial devastation.
Hired Power has over 20 years of experience helping families nationwide cope with addiction and mental health issues.
We’re an experienced, independent service dedicated entirely to the benefit of our clients, so you can count on us for impartial advice and assistance throughout the recovery process.
What is a gambling addiction?
Compulsive gambling is the act of gambling excessively, regardless of the consequences it may have on your life. Gambling is risking something you value with the hope of gaining something of even greater value.
Many factors can contribute to the development of gambling addiction, including the thrill of betting, desperation for money, or the intoxicating ambiance of the casino or gambling scene.
How does gambling affect the brain?
As with drugs and alcohol, gambling stimulates the brain’s reward system and can ultimately lead to addiction. Those that suffer from gambling addiction may lose large amounts of money, hide behavior from others, deplete their savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud.
To understand how gambling affects the brain, it may be helpful to first understand how the brain processes rewards. Rewards activate the brain’s “feel good” chemical, dopamine, in the same way that drugs do. Dopamine production increases when you receive love or support—or win money.
Who is at risk for a gambling addiction?
The three main groups at risk of gambling addiction are:
- People who struggle with addictive substances such as alcohol or drugs. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) reports that about one-third (32%) of problem gamblers also have substance abuse problems. Over one-fourth (26%) have substance abuse problems and a mental health disorder such as depression.
- People with mental health issues. Clinical depression is frequently associated with problem gambling. According to the NCPG, 63% of pathological gamblers have a lifetime diagnosis of major depression. About 10-15% of the population suffers from major depression at any given time. However, this figure increases to 30-35% among people seeking treatment for addiction.
- Men. According to NCPG, men account for about 85% of all pathological gamblers, and about 60% percent of female addicts are married to a man with a gambling addiction. However, problem gambling rates among women have been rising in recent years.
What are the signs of gambling addiction?
The following signs may indicate that you or someone you know is exhibiting problem gambling behavior:
- Feeling irritable or restless when trying to cut down or stop gambling
- Lying about gambling activities
- Missing work, school, or other obligations to gamble
- Spending more time obtaining your next gambling “fix” or recovering from your last loss
- Using gambling to escape problems or relieve feelings of depression, anxiety helplessness, or guilt
- Thinking more and more about your next bet
- Having to gamble with ever-increasing amounts of money
- Borrowing money from friends or family to fund your gambling
- Using your credit cards or taking cash out of a bank account without permission to finance your gambling activity
- Dealing with legal problems resulting from gambling activity such as embezzlement, theft, fraud, etc.
- Continuing to gamble even after losing so much money that you have nothing left except debts
The majority of casual gamblers set a loss limit or walk away when they lose, but compulsive gamblers keep playing to try to recover their money—a pattern that becomes increasingly destructive over time.
What are the consequences of gambling addiction?
- Trouble With the Law: Gambling leads many people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. In some cases, people who gamble engage in criminal activities such as fraud or theft to get more money for their habit.
- Financial Problems: Gambling addiction can cause major devastation for both the person struggling and their family. The addiction may cause some people to sell off valuable possessions to keep betting, or others to borrow or even steal. The most common financial consequence of gambling addiction is bankruptcy.
Compulsive gambling can cause profound and long-lasting life consequences for those struggling, such as:
- Relationship problems
- Legal problems or imprisonment
- Poor work performance or job loss
- Poor general health
- Suicide, suicide attempts, or suicidal thoughts
Gambling Addiction Treatment
There’s no single treatment for a gambling addiction. However, the treatments offered at Gamblers Anonymous meetings, through counseling, or through various treatment programs are often successful in helping individuals who suffer from this addiction.
What Are the Most Effective Treatments for Gambling Addiction?
In most cases, an individual addicted to gambling is also dealing with a mental health disorder. Although someone can become addicted to gambling without other mental health issues, this isn’t common. Because of this fact, the most effective treatments for gambling addiction include a combination of behavioral therapy and medication.
Gamblers Anonymous meetings are often the first place people turn when they realize they struggle with compulsive gambling. These meetings offer support and encouragement for those suffering from this addiction.
You need a program tailored specifically to your needs and circumstances since every gambler is unique. A doctor or mental health professional may suggest the following treatment options, including:
- Inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs. These are designed for individuals who suffer from a severe gambling addiction and require support around the clock.
- Treatment for underlying conditions, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, OCD, or ADHD. Treatment may include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to focus on changing gambling behaviors and thoughts, such as rationalization and false beliefs. CBT can also teach you how to fight gambling urges and solve financial, work, and relationship problems caused by problem gambling.
- Marriage counseling, family therapy, and career or credit counseling to help you work through the specific issues your gambling problem created.
Get Help for Your Gambling Addiction
It’s not always easy to come to terms with addiction and seek help, however many times the addiction can reach a point where it is harming your life. Here at Hired Power, we have the knowledge and expertise to guide you or your loved one to the services you need.
A life free from gambling addiction is possible. Hired Power works closely with your family and the professionals involved in your recovery to help create the best outcome. To learn more about our services, call our addiction treatment office in Huntington Beach, CA, today at 800.585.5816.