Gambling Addiction: Myths, Facts, and Treatment Options

Gambling Addiction: Myths, Facts, and Treatment Options

Man playing cards with casino chips around him.
Gambling Addiction Treatment

There are many kinds of addiction that plague people every day. These can be alcohol addiction, drug addiction, or gambling addiction, to name a few. Gambling addiction is an addiction that can have many faces and is often not seen as problematic. As a result, many wait too long before seeking gambling addiction treatment.

Close to 10 million Americans struggle with a gambling addiction. This kind of addiction can be just as harmful to the person struggling with it and their loved ones. But constitutes gambling addiction, and what treatment options are available?

What is a Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, pathological gambling, or gambling disorder, is an impulse control disorder. When there is an addiction rooted in impulse control, the addict struggles to stop, despite the harmful consequences that arise. As a result, they continue to gamble and satisfy the impulse.

In addition, Gambling addiction can take many forms and does not just happen in casinos. It can also take the form of betting on sports or races of any kind, scratch-off tickets, poker games, slot machines, or any other type of gambling. 

Having a gambling problem can exist even if there is not a complete loss of control. For example, difficulty concentrating, or frequent thoughts of gambling may be indicative of a gambling disorder.

Gambling Addiction Myths & Facts

There are some myths about gambling addiction that have been instrumental in continuing this destructive cycle of addiction. Because education is the best form of prevention, discussing these myths is essential to helping others validate their need for professional help. Thus, understanding the truth about this problem will inevitably help those that have a potential gambling problem.

Myth #1: Everyday Gambling

A gambling addict must gamble every day for there to be an issue. This concept is not valid. Additionally, this concept plays into the stigma of gambling addiction. Having a gambling problem have nothing to do with the frequency of gambling. Generally, if issues originate from gambling, regardless of how often, then it is a problem that requires attention.

Myth #2: They Can Afford it, So It’s Fine

Affordability has nothing to do with whether or not there is an addiction. Let’s think of this in terms of drug abuse or alcohol addiction. Just because an alcoholic or drug addict can financially afford their habit, does not justify illicit drug use. Thus, having the money to gamble does not take away the fact that there is an addiction or that the behavior can become problematic. 

Myth #3: They are Weak Willed and Irresponsible

Various types of addiction can affect any person at any time. The amount of will power they have does not have a bearing on it. Previously responsible parents may get bit by the gambling bug and turn into a completely different person that can only think about the next time they get to gamble.  

Myth #4: It is the Loved One’s Fault

Generally, this kind of rationalization is common in people that struggle with addiction. It is hard for them to take responsibility for their actions, so they blame those closest to them. However, no one else is responsible for their choices or addiction.

Myth #5: It is Okay to Help Them Pay the Debt 

While it may seem like help and protection, it is enabling the gambling behavior to continue. Generally, giving the addict a quick way out of their problem will allow them to get into to continue the destructive behavior.  

Gambling Addiction Treatment Options

There are treatment options that can help people with gambling addiction break free from the chains they put on their lives. The length of treatment and levels of care generally will depend on the severity of the addiction. 

Support Groups

Support groups are an excellent step for any gambler because they are organized by those that understand a particular problem. They also give accountability to the person that is struggling with gambling. Support groups are not intensive and may not be appropriate for every addict in the beginning. There are also extensive alternative levels of treatment available if there is a need for more comprehensive support.

Florida Treatment Programs for Gambling Addiction

Individuals struggling with a gambling addiction may also struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. Dual Diagnosis treatment may also be appropriate for many gambling addicts. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, there is a holistic approach to treating people with many dependencies, not just gambling. 

Treating every patient, with a personalized approach, is the key to the success of our programs. If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction, we want to help. Contact us to find out what options are available.

Call 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE  to speak to one of our experienced and compassionate outreach and admission coordinators today.

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