Although gambling usually starts out as a harmless, fun activity, it can sometimes evolve into a harmful addiction that requires professional involvement to stop. No matter the form the gambling takes, if not properly treated, this addiction can cause social isolation, financial ruin and psychological distress. Symptoms of a gambling addiction can include the following:
- Thinking constantly about gambling and/or looking for occasions to gamble
- Engaging in risky financial endeavors to fund gambling, including frequently borrowing or stealing money
- Needing increasingly higher stakes to get the same thrill
- Using gamble as a coping mechanism for stress or other emotional issues
- Lying to others about gambling habits
- Wanting to stop, but not being able to
Gambling is not a substance addiction, but it does have biochemical roots. For those with a gambling addiction, dopamine is released during anticipation for or participation in betting, this creates a powerful biochemical drive to continue gambling. This drive is exceptionally difficult to ignore and the more it is acted upon, the more ingrained the behavior becomes, even when the gambling has negative consequences. Mental health disorders often underlie a gambling addiction. People gamble as a way to deal with the difficult emotions they have as a result of their mental health disorder. Specifically, manic episodes can be associated with gambling binges, exacerbating the impulse control struggles and requiring specialized professional treatment.
Solara Mental Health understands the complicated nature of gambling addiction and the co-occurring mental health disorders that sometimes come with them. The calm, quiet facilities at Solara provide a refuge from the day-to-day triggers and habits that can cause gambling, giving veterans the distance and space they need to begin recovery. Our psychiatric clinicians, who are experts at treating mental health disorders and co-occurring addictions, use a variety of therapeutic modalities to help veterans better understand the nature of their illness and the psychological drive that causes them to gamble. From this understanding, veterans can begin to practice techniques that help them strengthen self-control, develop increased self-confidence and cope with triggers in a healthy manner. This allows them to rebuild damaged interpersonal relationships and take control of their lives once again.
While our veterans make considerable and rapid improvements, gambling addiction is often a long-term condition. Through years of experience, our mental health treatment center has learned how to provides the entire spectrum of care for our veterans. From inpatient to outpatient, from transitional living to a long-term aftercare plan, our program has been designed to free our veterans from the clutches of gambling addiction.
Contact us now to start the healing process.