Gambling addiction is on the rise. Florida is one of the States looking to increase revenues so they are authorizing the establishing of casinos, lotteries and other ways to part people from their money. Unfortunately, many lose their money and a percentage develop a gambling addiction which interferes with their job, health or relationships.
As a cognitive therapist, practicing in Boca Raton, a city in Palm Beach County, I already work with addictions ranging from alcohol and drugs, prescription medications, weight and now, gambling.
Most clients seek me out when they are looking to learn specific skills to help them cope with their thoughts and urges which are at the cause of maintaining their addictive habits.
Relaxation skills such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation training and guided imagery help clients to control their urges and emotions.
Cognitive therapy helps individuals change their responses to negative thoughts and urges and replace them with skills to manage their urges and healthier thoughts.
Depending on the person, other skills might include help with decision making, problem solving, goal setting or finding greater meaning or purpose in their life.
Once stopped, relapse prevention strategies are built in to help reduce the “mind traps” so easy to fall into.
Most clients with addictions are seen initially twice a week and as their skills increase, once a week. In addition to therapy sessions, clients are given skills to practice between sessions to reinforce what is gone over in their individual sessions.
Eventually, clients are prepared to be free of the addiction and free of therapy. No longer dependent on either and capable of leading “normal” lives uncomplicated by the problems addictions cause.
Overcoming gambling addictions and related problems are simple but not easy. There are no magic pills or quick fixes. Commitment and hard work will lead to control and then freedom.