Last updated: 11/14/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Gambling addiction is commonly referred to as a “secret or hidden illness” because there are not your typical physical warning signs such as are expected with other addictions such as those related to drugs or alcohol. Gambling addicts may cover up the problem, minimize the details or otherwise show very few warning signs which can make determining whether there is a problem with compulsive gambling a challenging process. Do you like to gamble? Maybe a little too much? You may need gambling addiction counseling!
Signs of a Gambling Problem and the Need for Counseling
If you are not sure whether you really have a problem with gambling or not, consider the facts:
- People who lie about their gambling to loved ones are likely in too deep.
- People who feel like they have to keep their gambling a secret should probably seek help.
- If you have little control of your gambling and allow the urge or desire to gamble to take over the rationale of not spending money that you can’t afford to spend, you may have a problem.
- Gambling money that is meant for bills, savings or other important priorities is a sure sign of a gambling problem.
- Even if you can afford to gamble and it doesn’t hurt you financially, if you are not spending time with family or your relationships are suffering as a result of your gambling then there is a problem.
- If your family and friends have confronted you about the gambling and you have told a lie, downplayed the situation or decided to become confrontational about the gambling, it could be time to seek professional help.
How Gambling Addiction Counseling Helps
Gambling addiction counseling works to get to the bottom of your gambling addiction and to determine why it is that you gamble. These programs work by helping you to understand your addiction, the causes of the addiction and the various factors that can be treated in relation to your addiction. Most of the time, gambling addiction counseling includes cognitive behavioral therapy which focuses on changing behaviors and the thoughts that pertain to such behaviors to help control addictive or compulsive gambling activities.
The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy, also called CBT, is to teach problem gamblers how to recognize the situations that cause them to gamble, how to avoid these situations or how to effectively overcome these situations without giving in to their urge to gamble. Instead of simply giving in to the temptation, you will instead learn how to deal with the emotions that you are feeling in a positive way that does not include gambling, using drugs or taking part in other addictive or compulsive behaviors.
During gambling addiction counseling, you will learn how to think differently about various attributes in life and how to react in a healthy manner to stress and other potential triggers that could lead to relapse. It’s important to know that you are not considered weak or otherwise incompetent just because you make the triumphant decision to seek help for gambling addiction—it simply means that you recognize that your gambling has become a problem and that you are taking the appropriate initiative to get the help you need to be a better person.
Finding Gambling Addiction Counseling
If you’ve decided to seek help for gambling addiction, finding gambling addiction counseling is your next major hurdle to overcome. Most of the time, outpatient counseling is ideal for gambling addicts because it will allow you to continue to live with your family members, maintain a job or go to school and take part in regular activities all while also receiving the support that you need from a counselor as well as your peers.
Finding gambling addiction counseling begins with a search online for local support groups and counseling programs in your area. Gambler’s Anonymous groups can be found both within the community as well as online so this could be a good starting point for you to find the support and help that you need.