In this world where most people yearn for fast money and easy solutions to their financial problems, more and more individuals are addicted to gambling. Whether it be slot machines, bingo, mahjong, baccarat, or the lottery, men and women are equally drawn to these supposedly recreational activities that have caused a lot of damage to themselves and their families. Approximately 1.6 billion individuals are reported to be involved in gambling every year – that is quite an overwhelming number!
Because of this, gambling support groups have slowly emerged. These groups aim to provide vital information about the risks and dangers of gambling addiction. They also help gambling addicts wean from their addiction through therapy and counseling. Here are some of the gambling support groups and what they actually do to the help the gambler free himself from his gambling addiction.
“Gambling addiction is a growing problem as games of chance become increasingly more accessible in society.” –Cami Renzoni, a certified mental health aid provider.
Gambling Support Groups
The Gamblers Anonymous 12-Step Program aims to help the gambling addict accept his problem of addiction, take responsibility for it, and ultimately quit gambling and take back the life he lost because of his addiction. It offers online support through trained and professional counselors who are available to converse with the problem gamblers and find effective measures to get rid of their addiction. The program has built some essential concepts that when structurally followed, will impact positively on the lives of the gambling addicts and eventually help them quit and take on a fresh, gamble-free perspective in life.
Run by former gamblers themselves, the Problem Gamblers Peer Support has become popular because gambling addicts find it easier to open up and communicate their struggles. They are also very accessible and very supportive of their ‘patients’ because they have been there and are empathic of what they are going through. Most problem gamblers, on the other hand, prefer to join this group because they are more comfortable and therefore can be more honest about how they feel about their gambling problem.
“The lack of awareness of the disorder makes it difficult enough to identify problem gamblers and connect them to treatment, much less address the impact problem gambling has on loved ones.” –Damon Dye, EdD, LMHC, NCGC II, BACC
SMART Recovery is a self-help program that is similarly geared towards helping the gambling addict rid himself of his gambling addiction by providing essential information on how excessive gambling can lead to broken families, unemployment, and eventually developing criminal behaviors such as stealing, misuse of company funds, and even suicide. SMART, or Self-Management and Recovery Training, has proven itself a highly effective program through several research studies. It utilizes a four-step program as an alternative to Gam-Anon’s 12-step program.
If you are a wife, mother, or significant other of a problem gambler, the Friends and Family Therapy Group is available to help you deal with your partner, son/daughter or friend who is addicted to gambling. Here you can vent your emotions and learn things and issues that other family members or friends are going through. You will sometimes realize that there are other gamblers who have more problems than your significant other, and that there is hope for these problem gamblers through your help, your patience and your guidance as well.
Gambling is undeniably a worldwide problem that is causing physical, emotional and mental damage to the gambling addict and to his family and friends. It is something that should be treated the way alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness should be dealt with – with seriousness and definitely with a hope that with the right kind of help, the gambling addict can take back his life successfully.
“They might be recognizing the ways in which your gambling is affecting you before you are. The sooner you seek help and treatment, the less damage to your finances, relationships, and work you will have to repair.” –Jeremy Frank, PhD, CAC