Compulsive Gambling Treatment

Compulsive gambling is a progressive illness that follows a predictable course, starting with recreational gambling and ending in addiction. First, the gambler enjoys the winning phase in which losses are overshadowed by the excitement of finding new locations and times for gambling. Next, the gambler experiences the losing phase in which he begins to borrow money or take cash advances on credit cards to “chase” his losses, and begins skipping work and lying to family and friends.

When the gambler enters the desperation phase, she loses all control of her gambling impulses, despite feeling guilty, losing a job or marriage, writing bad checks, taking out secret loans, or committing crimes to maintain the habit. Finally, the gambler reaches the hopeless phase, also known as “rock bottom,” in which she may turn to drugs or alcohol, or consider or attempt suicide.

The first step in treating compulsive gambling is for the gambler to admit he or she has a problem. CRC’s treatment programs utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, and 12-step principles to help compulsive gamblers address the underlying emotions that led to the unhealthy behaviors, replace negative beliefs with positive ones, develop coping skills, heal damaged relationships, and regain a sense of control.

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