Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gambling Addiction Treatment


It is sad to see no end of such topics, where on one side we enjoy new research and developments and on the other side we see people having adverse effects of such innovation. If after such colossal progress in the standard of human civilization, we as human beings are losing control over ourselves, then who do we blame for it? People have sacrificed so much to bring into shape even one small invention, and here we have another bunch of people who are mercilessly busy in either finding ways to spoil that invention or misuse it. Over the years as we have witnessed a steady growth in the progress of economies, similarly we have observed a steady growth in crime rates as well. A steady increase in criminal activities is pulling down the overall growth of a nation.

The topic of ‘
Gambling Addiction’ goes on similar lines. On one hand we saw the remarkable invention of online casino sites and Internet Gambling and ‘lo’ within no time we heard about the negative aspects of internet gambling. People getting addicted to it, families suffering due to it, teenagers adopting wrong means to gamble, etc. were some of the after-effects of the invention. Infact, now we come across more people who are have negative vibes for the game. The positives have suddenly disappeared.

Symptoms:

Now how does one identify a Problem Gambler?

Well if one has got a problem, how do we identify? I feel no one needs to put their minds to work; the person having a problem speaks for it-self. Their behavior, habits, attitude all go for a toss and if one observes for some time, such people are easily identifiable. Although, agreed that unlike other types of addiction where consumption of a physical substance makes things more obvious, here it might take some more time for the problem to become obvious.

* Restlessness: Problem gamblers often become restless and since gambling is always on their minds, they are unable to concentrate on other things.

* Strong Urge: In spite of knowing that excessive gambling is ruining their lives, such people cannot control their urge to gamble. They make several unsuccessful attempts but fail to control the urge to play.

* Secretive: With excessive gambling, naturally there is a drain of finances. Problem gamblers tend to become secretive of their finances and tend to hide their expenditure from their near and dear ones, which leads to mistrust in the long run.

* Broken Relationships: As a gambler starts enjoying the game and progresses towards becoming a problem gambler, on its way it puts on stake many important relationships. With less amount of time to spend with family and friends, certain very important relationships get tarnished.

* Isolation: Such people start preferring to live in isolation, as it gives them time to think more about the game and also to play more.

* Financial Turmoil: The finances of problem gamblers often become a problem. Since with online gambling, the pain of losing the money seeps in at a much later stage, by the time they realize the implications, the financial system of the gambler already becomes a mess. Generally it is seen that that there are huge debts on such people, which leads to a lot of tension.

Treatment:

No treatment is successful till the time the patient itself wants to get cured. So for a start, the problem gambler should be interested in finding a cure for itself. Now, that this problem is spreading rapidly worldwide, we have special trained professionals also who help in providing cure to such people. Following are the common ways of treating a problem gambler:

* Self Help: As mentioned earlier, till the time a person himself is not interested in finding a way out of the obsession, nothing else will work. A problem gambler needs to do some self analysis and find out ways to stop the ongoing destruction. Self analysis leads to realization of one’s responsibilities towards others and the importance of others in one’s life.

* Counseling: Counseling has proved fruitful to quite an extent in such cases. As, such people lose their social acceptance; generally they lose trust of their family members and friends also, so they have no one to share their problems. In such cases the help of a professional counselor does wonders for problem gamblers. Once the problem gambler starts trusting the counselor, the process of healing starts. With time the counselor shows the correct path and pulls the addict out of the trap. A recent development in this field has been the start of ‘phone counseling’. Phone counseling is being accepted with open arms as it solves the two major hitch of a problem gambler. First is the hitch of revealing the identity, and the second is that it overcomes the barriers of time and place.

* Peer Support: This has the most promising results. Peer support allows the problem gambler to recover without having to go through the disgrace of its family members. There are various groups of people who help the problem gambler to get out of the addiction without disclosing their identities.

* Family and Friends: Although a slightly difficult way to shun away the problem of gambling, but if applied in the right spirit this method works the fastest. Every individual is very attached with its family and friends and if they step forward to help, an addict is likely to recover fast. But generally this does not happen, as during the period when a gambler progresses towards becoming a problem gambler, it loses the trust and love of all its family members and friends.

So the above mentioned points make us aware of the various methods which can be adopted to provide treatment to the problem gambler. The basic requirement in all the methods is strong will power, failing which all the methods will prove futile. Gambling is otherwise a pleasure activity, so one should try to take is as an option for recreation, and avoid making it a problem for itself and for others.

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