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Gambling Addiction Rehab

While most people associate rehab with drug addiction, some gambling addicts may benefit from inpatient or outpatient rehab programs. Most gambling addicts can find recovery through therapy or self-help interventions.

For people with severe gambling addiction at risk for criminal activity, self-harm, or harming others, rehab offers a more intensive treatment option some addicts may need.

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What Is Gambling Addiction Rehab?

Gambling addiction rehab describes both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for gambling addiction or gambling disorder.

Although inpatient rehab is less common for treating gambling addiction, some patients with severe cases or who have substance abuse issues may benefit from residential gambling rehab.

Most gambling addicts do well with outpatient programs. These outpatient treatment programs focus on behavioral health, offering some form of weekly one-on-one therapy, group therapy, support groups, and other types of therapy.

Every gambling addict is different and may benefit from a unique treatment program that suits their needs.

Who Should Go to Rehab for Gambling Addiction?

In most cases, gambling addicts only need behavioral care like therapy or support groups.

However, addicts with a severe gambling addiction who are at risk for criminal activity, harm to themselves or others, or abuse substances may need to consider rehab.

If you’re unsure what treatment you or a loved one needs, you can speak with your doctor or therapist for a referral. You can also request a consultation directly from a treatment center and determine what treatment best suits your needs and lifestyle from there.

Common warning signs of gambling addiction include:

  • Obsession with gambling or preoccupied with planning when you’ll gamble next
  • Continuing to gamble despite negative consequences
  • Gambling more than you can afford to lose
  • Needing to gamble higher amounts of money to feel the same “high”
  • Constantly needing to borrow money from others for basic costs like rent, mortgage, utilities
  • Stealing money or valuables to pawn for gambling money
  • Maxing out credit cards or cashing out investments early
  • Lying about or hiding evidence of gambling
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms like restlessness or depression when trying to cut down on gambling
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Types of Rehab Programs for Gambling Addiction

For addicts with especially severe gambling problems, a rehab program may be the best option.

Although intensive residential rehab stays aren’t common for gambling addiction, some patients require aggressive treatment.

Patients with a dual diagnosis or who abuse substances in combination with their problem gambling may also need the intense intervention offered by inpatient or outpatient rehab.

Inpatient Rehab for Gambling Addiction

Inpatient rehab typically includes a residential stay and can help addicts who cannot avoid gambling during treatment. Many gambling addicts who require inpatient rehab also abuse drugs or alcohol, thus benefitting from 24-hour care during their treatment.

Although gambling addiction does not require detoxification, many addicts experience withdrawal symptoms and may experience suicidal thoughts. By being under around-the-clock care through inpatient treatment, the risk of self-harm is much lower.

Partial Hospitalization Program for Gambling Disorder

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) are outpatient programs typically more common in drug or alcohol recovery.

PHP does not require a residential stay but does require patients to attend therapy for a certain number of hours a week and provides access to medical services like medical detox.

Gambling addicts seldom require PHP unless they have co-occurring substance use disorder issues and require medical detox.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) for Gamblers

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are more common among recovering gambling addicts.

Like PHP, an IOP doesn’t require a residential stay; it also doesn’t provide medical services and mainly focuses on therapy and skill-building.

Gambling addicts in an IOP typically receive one-on-one and group therapy and may receive therapies like family therapy, couples therapy, and credit counseling.

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Benefits of Attending Rehab for Gambling Addiction

Rehab for gambling addiction often isn’t only beneficial for the addiction itself; many patients find that treatment improves their overall well-being.

Not only do the therapy sessions in rehab help with addressing addictive behaviors, but they can address issues in other areas of the addict’s life.

Break the Cycle of Gambling Addiction

Rehab from gambling addiction can help stop the cycle many addicts find themselves in. People trying to quit gambling will often attempt to quit and soon surrender to temptation or can’t tolerate withdrawal symptoms and end up relapsing.

Each time the addict fails to stop and falls back into their addictive behavior, shame and guilt build up. By being in a controlled environment and receiving therapy, many addicts can finally break the cycle and regain control over their behavior.

Get Help Addressing Underlying Issues

For many gambling addicts, underlying mental health issues, trauma, or stress can cause or worsen problem gambling.

Through one-on-one therapy and group therapy for gambling addiction, patients can learn to identify the thoughts and behavior patterns that lead to problem gambling.

Whether the contributing factors are extreme stress or undiagnosed mental illness, rehab is a great opportunity to spot these issues and treat them.

Learn Coping Techniques

Stress or anxiety is a common reason gambling addicts cite for why they gamble, and the negative feelings only compound when addicts experience withdrawal from gambling.

Without better or healthier ways to cope with these negative feelings, gamblers will fall back into the same self-soothing problem gambling.

By working with a therapist on strategies to combat stress and anxiety, patients can find more positive or healthy avenues to redirect such negative feelings. The coping techniques learned in gambling recovery can also apply to other parts of their lives.

Additional Treatment Options for Gambling Addiction

Gambling addicts may succeed with treatment options other than traditional inpatient or outpatient rehab.

Therapy, support groups, and medications can all be provided in or out of rehab, making these options accessible when rehab isn’t available, affordable, or necessary.

Therapy

Therapy is the most common treatment for gambling addiction, as it addresses the problems at the root of addictive behaviors. In some cases, gambling addicts may also have co-occurring mental illnesses like bipolar disorder or impulse control issues that therapy could improve.

Therapy aims to identify and improve the thoughts and behaviors that lead to addictive behavior. While every therapy modality has its unique method of helping the patient, the end goal is the same: sustained recovery from gambling addiction and overall improvement of mental health.

Common types of therapy for gambling addiction include:

  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • Family therapy
  • Couples therapy

Support Groups

Support groups can be a massive help for addicts, especially after treatment. Support groups help by providing a sense of community and accountability through connecting with other recovering addicts.

Addicts can talk about issues they face with others who intimately understand the challenges of recovery. Support groups can sometimes provide camaraderie and a sense of belonging to addicts who have self-isolated and lack support systems.

Common gambling addiction support groups include:

Medications

Although there is no FDA-approved medication for the treatment of gambling addiction, some physicians have seen promising results with naltrexone (an opioid antagonist), lithium (a mood stabilizer), and various other antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.

In addition, addicts who discover they have co-occurring disorders may find relief from being on certain medications.

Common medications prescribed for gambling addicts:

  • Anti-depressants
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Mood stabilizers
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Find a Gambling Addiction Treatment Program

If you or a family member are ready to enter treatment for gambling addiction, you have many options available to you. You can start by asking your healthcare provider for a referral or seeking a therapist to discuss your options.

If you don’t have access to a healthcare provider, you can use the National Problem Gambling Helpline by calling 1-800-GAMBLER or their helpline chat. The helpline is free, confidential, and available 24/7 in all 50 states.

You can also find a treatment facility near you through SAMHSA’s online treatment locator or call 1-800-662-4357 (HELP).

FAQs About Gambling Addiction Rehab

How do I know if gambling addiction rehab is necessary?

Most gambling addicts don’t need the traditional type of rehab common with substance abuse. However, in cases of severe gambling addiction where the addict is in danger of committing a crime or hurting themselves or others, rehab may be the best choice for them.

If you’re unsure whether you or a loved one need rehab for gambling addiction, speak with an addiction treatment center to assess your treatment options. They can guide you on what treatment type meets your unique needs.

What is the best way to quit gambling once and for all?

The answer will vary depending on the person and any co-occurring disorders or substance abuse issues they have. For example, some people only need therapy once weekly, while others require more intensive rehab options.

Quitting gambling once and for all will depend on how committed you are to your treatment, developing strategies to avoid relapse, and having a support system to lean on in moments of temptation or high stress.

Does rehab help with gambling addiction?

Rehab can help with gambling addiction, although not every addict will need rehab. For individuals that require it, rehab can help them by breaking the cycle of addiction and helping them learn skills to handle the temptation and stress that leads to relapse.

What is the recovery rate for gambling addiction?

Unfortunately, there is little data on the national recovery rate for gambling addiction, likely because very few addicts will seek professional treatment.

However, Gambler’s Anonymous has reported that 50–70% of attendees experience sustained recovery. These individuals often stayed involved with meetings, attended regular meetings, and sought other therapies along with Gambler’s Anonymous.

What are the costs of gambling addiction rehab?

The cost of gambling addiction rehab depends on several factors, like insurance, location, and treatment services.

Because gambling addiction often depletes finances, rehab may not be possible for some addicts. Nonetheless, you can start by checking to see if your insurance covers rehab or other types of treatment.

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. is a founder of Addiction HelpReviewed by:Kent S. Hoffman, D.O.

Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. has been an expert in addiction medicine for more than 15 years. In addition to managing a successful family medical practice, Dr. Hoffman is board certified in addiction medicine by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM). Dr. Hoffman has successfully treated hundreds of patients battling addiction. Dr. Hoffman is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of AddictionHelp.com and ensures the website’s medical content and messaging quality.

Jessica Miller is the Content Manager of Addiction HelpWritten by:

Editorial Director

Jessica Miller is the Editorial Director of Addiction Help. Jessica graduated from the University of South Florida (USF) with an English degree and combines her writing expertise and passion for helping others to deliver reliable information to those impacted by addiction. Informed by her personal journey to recovery and support of loved ones in sobriety, Jessica's empathetic and authentic approach resonates deeply with the Addiction Help community.

  1. Fong, T. W. (2005, March). The Biopsychosocial Consequences of Pathological Gambling. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004711/
  2. Fong, T., & Colon-Rivera, H. (n.d.). Expert Q&A: Gambling disorder. Psychiatry.org. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/gambling-disorder/expert-q-and-a
  3. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, June 18). Compulsive Gambling. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/compulsive-gambling/symptoms-causes/syc-20355178
  4. Potenza, M. N., Fiellin, D. A., Heninger, G. R., Rounsaville, B. J., & Mazure, C. M. (2002, September). Gambling: An Addictive Behavior with Health and Primary Care Implications. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1495100/
  5. Treatment of Pathological Gamblers. National Research Council (US) Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of Pathological Gambling. (1999). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK230629/

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