Gambling Addiction Treatment in Beverly Hills, MI—Counselors and Therapists
Atlantic City. Monte Carlo. Reno. Las Vegas. These used to be the iconic cities of gambling. When people wanted to gamble, where did they go? To one of these cities. However, that story is changing. Forty-eight states now have some form of legalized gambling, and Internet gambling has exploded in the past few decades. These days, if most people want to gamble, they are doing so in their hometown or even in just their home. In many ways, gambling is just like other addictions: Many people drink alcohol without any issues. Many people gamble without any issues. Some, however, struggle. Gambling can change the way their brains function and can take over their lives. It is important for people with a gambling addiction to know that treatments are available. Many people learn how to rebalance their brain and take back control in their lives.
“There are many harsh lessons to be learned from the gambling experience, but the harshest one of all is the difference between having fun and being smart.”
—Hunter S. Thompson
The therapists at Thriveworks Beverly Hills understand how quickly gambling can transition from fun entertainment to a compulsive pattern. Gambling addiction is a serious mental health challenge, but there are effective treatment options available.
The Brain, Gambling, and Addiction
Therapists have long acknowledged that gambling can cause serious mental health challenges, but the extent of these challenges has only become clear more recently. Beginning in the 1980s, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) classified gambling compulsion within its chapter of Impulsive Control Disorders. In its newest edition, DSM-5, gambling compulsive was moved. It is now classified in the chapter on Addictions.
A substantial amount of research informed the decision to classify compulsive gambling as an addiction. In particular, what is happening in the brain of a compulsive gambler is similar to what is happening in the brain of an individual who has an addiction. For some people, dopamine floods their brain as they place bets, and this hormone produces a high. The addiction is not really about gambling; it is about that feeling that the dopamine produces. People keep coming back to the feeling and become dependent. The brain becomes imbalanced and loses control.
Diagnostics for Gambling Disorder
Scientific American has studied gambling addiction and found that about 2 million Americans are currently fighting this mental health challenge. One in 500 women will be addicted to gambling at some point in their lives, and 1 in 165 men will be.
Along with its classification, DSM-5 also gives characterizing behaviors of gambling addiction. Not everyone who gambles does so in an addictive way, but if an individual displays a minimum of four symptoms for a 12 month period, they may have a gambling addiction:
- Escalation—spending more time and money on gambling in order to feel the same level of satisfaction.
- When trying to cut back, control, or stop gambling, experiencing irritability or restlessness.
- Obsessive thoughts about gambling—reliving the past or planning for the future.
- Coping with life’s difficulties (particularly challenging emotions like guilt, anxiety, and depression) through gambling.
- Responding to a loss by doubling down: using gambling to try and win back what was lost through gambling.
- Misleading other people about how often, when, and where one gambles.
- Putting a job, relationships, opportunities, and more at risk in order to prioritize gambling.
- Gambling despite financial hardship and losses, even possibly borrowing money in order to gamble.
Gambling, Beliefs, and Addiction
Gambling is about more than actions. The slot machines, the sporting events, and more are just the tip of the iceberg in a gambling addiction. Underlying these actions are beliefs that are often false and/or negative and that fuel the addiction. Recognizing these beliefs for what they are and replacing them with true, positive beliefs may be an important part of recover. Two false beliefs that frequently fuel gambling addiction are…
- Superstitions: Gambling addicts often have rituals and superstitions that undergird their actions. These are physiologically and logically disconnected from the act of gambling, but in an individual’s head, they are connected. For example, addicts may believe that the clothes they wear will give them luck. Such false beliefs can sustain the addiction.
- Minimization: Patterns of denial can also sustain the addiction. People with a gambling addiction can be blind to the harm the addiction is causing in their own lives and in the lives of others. For example, what may clearly be addictive behavior can be relabeled as entertainment. Such minimizations and denials can keep people in the addiction longer than necessary.
Appointments with Thriveworks Beverly Hills, MI for Gambling Addiction Treatment
If you are struggling with gambling, know that you are not alone and know that help is available. Thriveworks Beverly Hills offers treatment for gambling addiction, and we have appointments available. Each of our clients receives individualized and holistic treatment, and for many gambling addicts, their treatment plan involves Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT is a type of therapy that focuses upon beliefs and behaviors. It addresses the negative thoughts patterns that can fuel the addiction as well as the behaviors.
If you are ready to get started, so are we. When you call our office, a real person will answer and help you make an appointment. You may be meeting with your counselor within 24 hours of your first call. We accept many different forms of insurance, and we offer evening and weekend sessions. Call today.