If you’re a heavy gambler, you may be suffering from a gambling problem. Problem gambling occurs when a person cannot control their urge to play and that activity affects their life. Depending on the severity of the problem, treatment options may include therapy, medications, or lifestyle changes. For example, a person suffering from bipolar disorder may be experiencing problem gambling. Therapy for problem gambling can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing unhealthy gambling thoughts and behaviors. In addition to learning ways to quit, this type of therapy can also teach coping skills and other ways to control one’s urge to gamble.
Another approach is to frame the gambling screen as a health issue. This approach is helpful in preventing resistance and focusing on the impact of gambling on the person’s life. While a gambling screen is not a diagnostic tool, it may help a patient focus on the impact that their behavior has on their overall health and wellbeing. Avoid using terms like “pathological gambling” or “compulsive gambling” when discussing the issue with a patient. Instead, focus on how gambling affects their lives.
Admitted problem gamblers must make a commitment to live a life free of gambling. This is especially difficult nowadays because of the accessibility of the internet. Anyone with a computer can access gambling sites at anytime. To prevent yourself from falling prey to temptation, make sure you have plenty of cash on hand and surround yourself with supportive people. Avoid gambling environments, give up control over your finances, and seek out healthier activities to replace gambling. There are many treatment options available for gambling addiction.