When most people hear about addiction treatment centers, alcohol, drugs and even food addictions come to mind. Just as important, but less known, are centers for gambling addiction treatment. About 2 million US adults are pathologically addicted to gambling; another 4 to 6 million are problem gamblers. This means that these gamblers are either completely unable to control their gambling or have met some of the diagnostic criteria for this problem. All of these 6 to 8 million adults could benefit from gambling treatment. If you or a loved one is addicted to gambling, consider a treatment center. There are a number of factors to consider in choosing the right center.
Factor 1: Insurance Coverage: Will the policy for you or your loved one cover the care? Inpatient treatment is expensive. Now that the American Psychiatric Association reclassified gambling as disorder, insurance companies will closely examine whether the current treatment programs are actually effective and worth reimbursement.
Factor 2: Treatment Modalities: Because gambling addiction is a behavioral disorder that gives its sufferers a mood boost, it is similar to other addictions. Many inpatient gambling treatment centers see this addiction as one necessitating holistic treatment. The family and the individual need counseling to understand and change behaviors. Group counseling with peers is important because they will hold the patient accountable. Guidance in nutrition and finances is important, too, because both of these needs suffer greatly at the hands of problem gamblers. Finally, many centers provide yoga, meditation and exercise to improve the sufferer’s overall health.
Factor 3: Program Types: Some gambling addiction help can be provided through outpatient counseling. Though this type of rehab is less expensive than inpatient programs, its outcomes can be less effective because the patient is not removed from the friends, family and environments that encourage gambling. Inpatient programs remove the patient from bad influences; some attendees purposely choose locations far from home.
Factor 4: Patient to Therapist Ratios: Because gambling is a difficult addiction, it can be helpful to ensure that these ratios are small so that each patient receives the professional treatment necessary to kick this habit. Some gambling treatment centers accept only a small number of patients at one time, which keeps the ratio at 1:1.
Factor 5: Treatment Durations: It can be helpful to select a treatment center that offers a variety of durations of stay. If money is an issue or if the patient is not yet pathological, perhaps a 10 day stay is sufficient. On the other hand, a pathological gambler may need to spend 30 days at a facility to completely break the habit.