Gambling can become an addiction just like alcoholism or drug use. Occasional gambling might not be considered a problem or a compulsive behavior until it begins to interfere with a person’s ability to function on a day to day basis. Problem gambling can wreak havoc on an individual’s personal life and finances. Too many times the problem gambler becomes addicted to the high they get from winning. They often get stuck in a pattern of trying to win back money they’ve lost. Soon the cycle spirals out of control and they find themselves in a situation where they’re spending too much money trying to pull themselves out of a predicament.
There is good news for problem gamblers and their families. Just like any other addiction, there are plenty of resources available to help problem gamblers break the cycle. Many compulsive gamblers will be able to find a number of local resources that provide support for any type of addiction. One of the best sources of help for gamblers is community support.
Just like Alcoholics Anonymous, there are usually twelve-step programs designed specifically for gambling. These programs are designed to provide support from other problem gamblers. They are based on a framework of twelve steps that members work through in order to abstain from unhealthy behaviors. Usually, while working through the program, other members provide continual support to intervene and help other members stay away from addictive behaviors. These groups provide a sense of community and belonging for individuals so they feel they can relate due to similar circumstances. One of the first things a problem gambler must do to succeed in a twelve-step program is admit to having a problem in the first place and agree to abstain from the destructive behaviors. In meetings, members share their own experiences and give inspirational support to other members.
Counseling is another helpful option for gamblers who have a problem. Most psychiatrist and psychologists offer cognitive behavior therapy for compulsive behaviors such as gambling. The purpose of cognitive behavior therapy is to progressively change the thinking patterns of the individual. Over time, working with a counselor can help a gambler change their behaviors by changing their beliefs.
Most cities also have support groups for problem gamblers. A support group is similar to a twelve-step program, except there are no steps that members have to work through. Instead, support groups are comprised of individuals suffering from the same type of affliction. These groups allow people to come together and lean on one another for support, learn from others who have been through similar situations, and support others.
In conclusion, there are many ways in which problem gamblers can receive help. In order to be successful and change problem behaviors, gamblers must first admit their gambling has become a problem and want to change.