A gambling addiction, sometimes referred to as ‘compulsive gambling’ or ‘problem gambling, is characterised by having a continuous urge to gamble, despite the negative impacts it can have.
Gambling addiction is known as a compulsive behaviour, and is very similar to what keeps smokers in the habit of smoking or gamers addicted to computer or online games. With compulsive gambling – it’s not always about ‘winning’ that drives the addictive cycle, but the excitement and anticipation of potentially winning.
Many people who gamble excessively have mixed feelings about gambling. They know they are causing problems for the people they love. They may become anxious and unhappy, and often experience feelings of self-loathing. However, the urge to gamble feels too great to resist. Some people still believe their system will pay off, their luck will change or they are due to win. Others believe that continuing to gamble is the only way out of a situation they are ashamed about.
Gambling addiction is a cycle of feelings including excitement, loss, shame and guilt.
People who are addicted to gambling feel compelled to gamble and feel like there is something inside them that’s out of their control. It is also about the feelings of shame and guilt that follow nearly all losses of money when gambling goes the wrong way.
Gambling Addiction Treatment
Although gambling addiction is a serious, destructive order that results from changes in the brain, it doesn’t require a detox program like alcohol or drug addiction treatment. Instead, it can be successfully treated with a combination of different types of therapy, group support and recovery resources. Here at Start Therapy in Manchester we offer integrative therapy which combines several therapeutic modalities tailored to the individual need. This includes EMDR, CBT and Psychodynamic therapy.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in the treatment of gambling addiction and can help people to understand what triggers gambling behaviours and ways in which they may change their behaviour. Medical treatments can also help to relieve underlying stress or depression.