Intensive outpatient treatment helps patients dealing with gambling addiction
Gambling addiction is a mental health condition. Someone with a gambling disorder experiences a release of dopamine in their brain when they gamble. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter located in the brain’s primitive reinforcement center. The more people gamble, the more the primitive part of the brain strengthens. The stronger this area grows, the weaker the higher functioning part becomes. As addictive behavior progresses, people feel the need to gamble more often.
Gambling addiction requires professional treatment
Gambling addiction, like any chronic disease, requires professional, ongoing care. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Less than 10% of people with a gambling disorder seek treatment.” Kolmac makes it easier for patients to get help by offering flexible hours. Our treatment plan also allows patients to live at home and continue working.
Kolmac’s outpatient treatment model helps patients and their families
Kolmac has been a leader in addiction treatment for over 45 years. We employ measurement-based practices that lead to long-term recovery. The first thing we ask patients with a gambling addiction to do is to abstain from gambling.
Our experience shows us that abstinence is the most successful way to treat addiction. Cutting back or gambling in moderation will not achieve the same results. Here are a few key things patients should know about our treatment at Kolmac.
- Our program offers extensive follow-up care. We do more than treat acute episodes of problem behavior. Our research shows that people have a much higher probability of relapsing into gambling without professional, long-term care and support.
- During the rehabilitation phase of outpatient treatment, patients attend group sessions where they receive therapy and education about gambling addiction.
- After the intensive phase of treatment, patients begin the continuing care phase. Many programs neglect to offer this critical stage. During this part of treatment, patients attend weekly group therapy sessions. We also encourage patients to find a recovery support group in the community, including Gambler’s Anonymous and SMART Recovery.
- Addiction also affects family and loved ones. Kolmac offers support and education opportunities for the people patients care about and the people who care about them.
How to tell if gambling addiction is a problem
People who suspect a gambling addiction should evaluate behavior for these signs.
- The need to spend more money to achieve the desired excitement
- Having failed repeatedly to control or stop gambling
- Frequent thoughts about gambling
- Feeling irritable or restless when not gambling or trying to cut back or quit
- Gambling to cope with feelings like guilt, anxiety or depression
- Concealing gambling and lying to cover up debts and losses
- Gambling activity that takes people away from work, activities and loved ones
Patients rarely recover from gambling addiction without support and ongoing treatment, but Kolmac provides hope. Contact us for more information.