3 MIN READ | Clinical Psychology

Dennis Relojo-Howell

Gambling Addiction Symptoms and Effective Treatments

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Dennis Relojo-Howell, (2021, September 29). Gambling Addiction Symptoms and Effective Treatments. Psychreg on Clinical Psychology. https://www.psychreg.org/gambling-addiction-symptoms-effective-treatments/
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The brain is probably the body’s most important organ. It sends commands around the entire body to control every physical and sensory action. It is constantly weighing up information and making decisions based upon its input. For the most part, human actions and decisions take place with known and predictable results. On occasions, a glitch in the process can result in negative outcomes. From which the brain learns, and doesn’t repeat the same action.

So why do some people make the same poor decisions repeatedly? An addict makes the same bad decisions time and time again, knowing full well that the consequences will be negative, or even catastrophic. The exact psychological reasoning for this is not fully understood.

It is widely accepted that damage to the frontal lobe can result in a person’s decision-making being flawed. Perhaps more controversial is that damage to the parietal cortex will impair decision-making. Although some experiments do show that the theory may hold some water, it is still far from conclusive. 

Whatever the exact psychological cause, the fact is that some people do become obsessional in one given direction and become addicted to a particular goal, be that goal a physical entity or a sensor experience. An individual that becomes addicted will continue to make the same bad decisions, knowing full well of the resulting negativity.

Addictions devastate the lives of those afflicted, and, to varying degrees, the lives of those around them. One such addiction that can wreck the life of the addict and the lives of all those close to them, is gambling. A gambling addiction often goes unseen with few, if any, outward manifestations. In many cases the true level of the addiction and the devastation it is causing only becomes known to others once the gambling wrecking ball has struck.

Once identified, a gambling addiction needs to be addressed with rehab, which needs to be professionally structured to suit the addiction and the individual. Statistics show that gambling addiction is best treated by those that have been in the same dark places as the client. Addicts that have overcome the compulsion to continually make life destroying decisions are uniquely placed to show an addict each individual step to regaining control of their decision-making process.

The road to recovery

The first step is to know that, as a pathological gambler, you can be cured. Realizing the problem is not a life sentence is the first important step. Understanding the triggers is the next vital step along the way to becoming free of the addiction. Gambling is often the result of historical inception, which may go back several generations. Also, gambling addiction often goes hand in hand with other substance abuse, typically drugs or alcohol. 

Professional therapy, in various forms, is the key treatment of the road to recovery. Therapy allows the client to self-explore their own psyche and understand their addiction whilst also exploring their decision-making methodology. Professionally done, this allows the addict to regain logical control of the decisions they make.

One-to-one counselling

Individual therapy is designed to give the client the tools they need to take back control. Motivational interviewing will help to identify the stressing triggers that bring about the compulsion which leads to known, yet irresistible, poor decision-making. One to one counselling can be tailored by a professional therapist to maximize its effect on each individual. 

Group therapy

A clients own peer group, within the correct environment, is an immense positive in the overall treatment process. Peer group support and camaraderie helps a client to remain focused on their end goals and the objectives of each step of the healing process. The ability to discuss shared issues with equally inflicted individuals, in a non-judgmental environment, reaps great rewards.  

Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, tackles pathological gambling by addressing the negative, self-damaging thought processes that leads to the destructive behavior of an addict. This therapy will confront the misguided beliefs every addict suffers with, such as, truly believing they will win even with a history of continual losses. 

Family therapy

An addiction to gambling will affect the whole family, it’s not just the addict that suffers, their loved ones often find their lives devastated by the actions of the addict. So, it is wholly appropriate that the addict’s nearest and dearest are included as part of the healing process. This form of joint therapy helps the addict and the family to relearn how to trust each other and to build new sustainable bonds for a gambling free future. 

There are numerous rehab centres, therapies and courses available to an addict. Sadly, many of these have profit as their number one objective, with successful healing of the pathological addict being second placed. One such place that reverses this thinking is Miracles Asia. This luxury therapeutic centre is the perfect ideal for a gambling addict. 

Sited on the tropical island of Phuket, secluded and luxurious, addicts feel immediately relaxed and stress free. Miracle Asia and its resident professional therapists have created an environment ideally conducive to the healing process. Addicts arrive at Miracle Asia looking for miracles, they soon realize that the miracle is within them, they heal, become enlightened and leave fully equipped to face life addiction free. 


Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg. He tweets @dennisr_howell.

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