Treatment for Problem Gambling


The first and biggest step in every person’s treatment is admitting that you have a problem with gambling. It takes tremendous strength and courage to do this – especially if you have lost a lot of money and strained or broken relationships along the way. But take solace in the knowledge that you are not alone – millions of people have had to face the very same problem.

Once you have taken the first step, you should seek treatment. Because each person is unique and gambles for different reasons, what works for one person may not necessarily work for the next. For this reason, each person should go through a recovery program tailored specifically to their own needs.

Below are some of the different treatment options available in California. You can also learn about more about the options available to you by calling the 1-800-GAMBLER helpline.

Counseling or therapy for problem gamblers helps you change unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts, teaches you how to fight gambling urges, deal with uncomfortable emotions rather than escape through gambling, and solve financial, work, and relationship problems caused by the addiction. The goal of treatment is to “rewire” the addicted brain by thinking about gambling in a new way.

And remember: therapists and counselors have had years of education learning about problems such as addiction. Seeking treatment does not mean you are too weak to handle your problems on your own – it means you are smart enough to accept that you need to learn more about them before you can fix them.1

Support Groups
Gamblers Anonymous is a twelve-step recovery program patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. A key part of a 12-step program is choosing a sponsor. A sponsor is a former gambler who has time and experience remaining free from addiction, and can often provide invaluable guidance and support.

More Resources
Additional resources such as self-exclusion, self-restriction, and publications are also available.

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