Gambling Addiction & Alcohol = FEAR “Kick Fear Out of Your Recovery. Especially If You Are “Dual Diagnosed.”

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends!

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Flash Backs of My Past With Mental Health, Undiagnosed . . . .

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“Sometimes we have to look back and remember what life was like before being finally diagnosed with a mental and emotional illness.  It is at times still difficult for me to talk about. I was first diagnosed in 2002 while in a behavioral and addictions crisis center via the hospital after my first failed suicide attempt, which included my severe gambling addiction.”

I happen to be reading a recent article I am about to share with you from the fine folks of “Psych Central” that hit home for me. It took me back years growing up before I was diagnosed with several mental health challenges, but looking back I remembered so many times I could pick out during my life that should have been possible warning signs for my parents, and “red flags” for me as I moved into adulthood.

I remember times when I was little, and would throw these awful tantrums from what my mother told me years ago, but I remember the aftermath when my mom would lock me in my bedroom and  I would be lying on my tummy watching the footsteps pass back and forth my bedroom door. Or, when I rode in the car I would rock forward and back, and it would drive my dad nuts, so  he would yell at me to stop! I always seemed to have to be moving and going all the time. Bipolar Anxiety I believe is what I was suffering. All of it had gotten worse after I had been sexually abused as a little girl. Hell, a lot came from PTSD I also was suffering but didn’t know or understand until I was diagnosed and when it came back to haunt me in my 30’s. It is some of why I turned to gambling.

In my teens, I would have times where I would be way up, happy, and chatty constantly and then? I would be very low, quite, and then isolate in my bedroom which now I know was depression, and kept right into adulthood. So, again, most of the article made me think back to those many memories and made them clear as to what was then, going on.
Many of us who were born in the early 60’s, and grew up in this period our parents had no clue about a mental illness. They just thought we were being fussy or just a bad kid. And yes, you can have anxiety and depression together. It is just a matter of which will be prevalent from day to day.

We know more today than ever with research, studies, and even with medications to treat the vast amount disorders. It is why we are seeing the explosion of many people coming out and talking about mental illness.  I hope this article will help others have “self-awareness” and not be afraid to get help if you suffer from any mental and emotional health problems.  .  .  .  .   As I watch the Democratic Convention today, right now, the first issues speakers are talking about? More Funding for Addiction and Treatment, and now Mental Illness. This is what we need. The people in our elected offices and government act and fund these issues.      *Author,Catherine Townsend-Lyon*

BIPOLAR LENSES/By   on
PsychCentral

Explaining utter darkness to someone who has only lived in the sunlight would be a difficult task. They would have to believe you and trust in something they have never experienced. If you haven’t experienced the darkness, perhaps after reading this you can help someone out of it.

Mania

When my eyes open in the morning, my mind goes from slumber to 100 mph. “I don’t know why I haven’t thought that! I need a (brain singing the Three’s Company theme song) new car! If I sold my current car and (dang I need a burger) sold my Xbox and TV I could afford the down payment and if I sell those baseball cards in the attic I can still pay rent! Wow! I am so handsome today! I know that I flunked out of college, but I am smarter than 90 percent of people so does it really matter? I want donuts. What DVDs do I have that I can sell to afford them?”

Hours later:

“Why did I sell that stuff? My wife is going to be so upset and those donuts were not worth it. Maybe I can buy them back. I’ll just need to grab my wife’s card when she is napping. No, I can’t because that will cause (you will do it) problems (you will do it) and (you will do it) I don’t want….

Back at the store:
“Didn’t you sell us these today?” (They noticed! You are so stupid!)

“Yes… I didn’t really mean to (you know they think you are crazy, right?)

Drive home:
“How do I explain this? (Say you got her birthday gift and it was a surprise! Her birthday isn’t for months and you can make that money back to really buy something!)

At home:
“I am so sorry I took your card, sweetie. I know I said I wouldn’t. Well, no, I feel fine. It wasn’t mania. Whatever.”

At night:
“I can’t sleep.” (You need a new guitar.)
“I want to sleep.” (Your kids will never love you when they experience what you are)
“I have to try to sleep.” (Work in seven hours) (Work in six hours) (Work in five hours)

At work:
Exceed in everything and then some due to my insane level of energy.

At home again:
“Can’t sit still … need to go.” (You are a terrible father) I just need to run to the store (stay with your kids, they love you. Are you a bad person?)
Rinse and repeat for a few weeks, then…

The middle

I am me. The Caleb I was when most of my old friends met me. The Caleb that loves to write music and play basketball. The Caleb that knows this can’t last long and soaks up every moment he can. I love the middle.

Depression

As I wake up, I wish I hadn’t. Take a look at my work to-do list and experience a high level of anxiety. That mental voice is not so active, but neither is mine. I feel a cloud of doubt and dread follow me all day, turning into a thunderstorm when faced with human interaction or hard times. The cloud sucks the life and desire for anything out of me.

I feel the weight of all my bad choices compounded with the reality that I am a finite being who will likely be forgotten soon after I am gone. Nothing I have done makes a difference to anyone. Trying to match my manic or normal self while depressed is next to impossible. I do not want to be around anyone due to the anxiety that they realize how messed up I really am. I try not to leave the house for as long as I can and wear the same clothes for as many days as I can.

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I sometimes plan to take my life, but when I see my children and imagine what their future looks like without a dad I change my mind. This time.I am not suggesting that mistakes someone makes while manic or depressed don’t count. But I am hoping you can see how choices made in the extremes haunt the individual.

If a friend ever comments they are contemplating suicide, get them immediate help however you can. 1-800-273-8255 is the suicide prevention hotline and dialing 911 is an acceptable option as well. If your friend was having a heart attack there would be no hesitation. If they mention killing themselves, then I promise they have thought about it seriously.

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Even the best friend in the world is no substitute for therapy. There are medical professionals who dedicate their lives to helping the mentally ill and it will do much more than any amount of “being there” can.

Take off the logical glasses you see life through and put on your empathy lenses. We might try to take advantage of your kindness. We might seem like we don’t care that you care. We might make you think we don’t appreciate you. But we appreciate it more than you can imagine. .  .  .

“HEAR MY VOICE of MENTAL ILLNESS” 

Mental Health ~ A Look Back In History …

“Yes, I write and share about Mental Health on my blog as I am a “dual diagnosed” person living life in recovery with Mental Health daily challenges”

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Four Heroes of Mental Health Treatment Reform” ~ Guest Author, Christine Hill”

 

Mental health treatment is a dark section of human history. Stories range from outright abandonment to institutionalized abuse.

Anciently, recorded evidence of mental treatment is sparse. We can tell from ancient skulls that trepanning (chipping a hole in the skull) was practiced in Neolithic times, perhaps as an attempt to lose evil spirits from someone’s head. Egyptian practices were more humane, (and surely more effective,) recommending calming time in the gardens, recreational activities, and care for the body in response to mental distress. Most ancient cultures, however, believed mental illness to be a result of unclean spirits, or punishment from God, and thus treated it with prayers, spells, charms, and incantations. This tendency persisted into the Middle Ages, despite Hippocrates’ revolutionary theories citing physical pathology as the cause of mental illness.

During the 1600’s, as civilization advanced in Europe, individuals with mental illness were increasingly incarcerated and institutionalized. Although this was often seen as a merciful approach to mental disease, separating patients for their own good, innocents were grouped without distinction with criminals and treated accordingly. Conditions were completely inhumane. Patients went completely uncared-for and were chained to walls, with the basic needs of life hardly seen to at all.

Fortunately, since that time, there have been amazing and significant changes in the mental health care system, thanks to the crusading efforts of a few individuals.
 

Phillipe Pinel & William Tuke
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(William Tuke)

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Phillipe Pinel was a French physician who practiced in the late 1700’s. When he first came to Paris, hoping to advance and enact reforms, he was discouraged by the bureaucracy of the medical system already in place, which wouldn’t honor the credentials of a provincial doctor. However, after the French Revolution, a new regime was put in place, and Pinel was appointed the Physician-in-Chief of all public men’s and women’s asylums in Paris. He is well-known for his management of Bicêtre asylum, where he forbade the use of chains and shackles, removed patients from dungeons, and instead promoted the incorporation of gardens and sunshine in the treatment of patients. He believed that with gentle and humane care, mentally ill patients would naturally improve.


In England, another physician was of the same mind. William Tuke, of the York Retreat, sought to treat people with compassion and morality. Although it started as an organization built by Quakers, for Quaker patients, it was soon open to everyone. Facilities like the York Retreat and La Bicêtre soon set the standard for humane treatment of mental illness around the world, but unfortunately, it wasn’t as widespread as it should have been, due to underfunding and lack of awareness.

Dorothea Dix

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Dorothea Dix )

Dorothea Dix was an American activist, teacher, and writer who lobbied for social reform during the 1800’s. After teaching in women’s prisons, she was shocked to see the treatment of incarcerated individuals, especially those will mental illness. She started traveling the country, documenting the conditions in various institutions, and bringing them to the attention of state and federal legislature. During the next 40 years, she stubbornly petitioned for reform, causing the establishment of 32 mental health institutions during her lifetime. She also traveled to Europe and addressed problems there, famously drawing the focus of Pope Pius IX, who personally oversaw the construction of a new mental hospital in response to her reports.

Nellie Bly

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(Nellie Bly)
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Nellie Bly was an advocate for the advancement of women, and a mover and a shaker in the journalistic world. She was a firecracker who repeatedly drew the public eye to issues she chose to highlight. One of her most famous forays into investigative journalism, perhaps, was her expose about mental health institutions. Although there had been a major shift in the placement of mentally ill patients in asylums instead of jails, thanks to Dorothea Dix, there was still widespread abuse and neglect in these asylums.

Nellie Bly posed as a patient and lived in New York’s Blackwell’s Island asylum for 10 days. From there, she wrote about the apathy and disregard from doctors, mistreatment from nurses, horrible food, and starvation. Her report, published originally in Pulitzer’s Newspaper, the New York World, and then later as a book, was a sensation and brought national attention to the plight of those in mental asylums.


Today’s View of Mental Health is Different

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Thanks to social reforms, as well as groundbreaking advances in the medical field, mental health treatment today is a very different story. Today we have various options available; inpatient, outpatient, counseling and therapy. We treat mental illness in all its forms and try to find solutions, instead of simply locking people away from society.

Admittedly, there is still a lot to learn about the treatment of mental illness, but we’re optimistic about the progress of treatment and care.

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Columnist for In Recovery Magazine

Gambling Addiction, Suicide, and Alcohol Just Don’t Mix.

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Ones!

One of my favorite newsletters and websites I enjoy is a helpful place to learn about mental health, addiction, and recovery. It is called;  Psypost … They do loads of research and share psychology and neuroscience news, reporting the latest research on human behavior, cognition, and society. Our mission is to spread information about social science and neuroscience research. By reporting on a wide variety of important, interesting, and overlooked studies, PsyPost hopes to provide the general public, mental health professionals, and academics with free updates on new research — providing everyone with a glimpse into the latest knowledge being uncovered by scientists and clinicians.

I came across this article that I knew was important to share. Since I am dual diagnosed, I found it most interesting and quite helpful. I hope you who come visit and read it will too!

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“Gamblers who drink alcohol are more likely to entertain thoughts of suicide”

Accept Me . . . Is It To Much To Ask For? “Flash Back Recovery Post Day!” Happy Thanksgiving All :)


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My Mental/Emotional Disorders, Recovery, or Childhood sex abuse & trauma survivor is not my label . . .

So please, don’t put me into a box labeled mental case or freak. And most definitely don’t treat me like I am different from others. Don’t set me into a category at all. I’m not a thing, I am human being. Don’t you see me? I am of flesh and blood like you.
I have feelings, a heart and a soul. I have a spirit no longer broken, not a victim of my disabilities. I am and will be a “work in progress” for a lifetime.

So don’t talk about my mental illness as if I’m not standing right in front of you. Learn to have more understanding, be educated about addictions, the cycle, recovery, and be informed not judge.

Don’t look through me, look at me. Have some compassion for those who battle with these issue’s, who have the courage to do so, and to take back their lives from addiction, and learning themselves to handle and face daily mental illness challenges, and overcome trauma and addictions.
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“Kindness is a Choice”, . . . as it is written in our Gospel/Bible to love one another no matter the faults or sins. To help one another. That includes those of us who may have taken a wrong detour in life for part of our journey, of God’s plan for us. I am human just like you. Life is a lifetime of choices. Yes, some may not make the right ones at times, but who asks this if it’s right or wrong? Is it our world and society we live in who asks? Is it our creator who lets us know when our choices are not correct, not you or someone else need not judge me, as it is not your job to do so, it is God’s.

I want my voice be heard among the roof tops that I am here, I am real and not my faults or wrong choices. I will be loud. I am not a person to be stigmatized by words, your words, harsh and negative from your mouths. No, I have feelings, I can hurt just like you. I am not my disease, my disorders, my situation, tragic as it has been in the past. I am of love and kindness. Of caring and sharing hope.

Am I Perfect? No, nor will I ever be.


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But I do know now the love and compassion I have for others is very real. You may not hear it, but you will feel it.
I am not my past, I am my future. I am and feel destined for great things, some of which have already come into my life. I live each day in this one moment in time.

Tomorrow will be here soon enough. Yes, I may live my life in recovery with mental disabilities and past trauma, but that is what I also have overcome.

No I may not be normal, hell normal is over rated, but at least I am happy about who I have become in recovery! No one person, place, or thing can steal my joy, my sparkle, nor my life that I have reconstructed from ash and devastation.

So please, accept me for WHO I AM TODAY, not my disease, my illness, wrong choices, or my past.

Is This To Much to ASK? . . . .

HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL!
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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Why Do I Write and Freelance Recovery Write?

Why do you write?

Since living my life in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse for more than 8 years now, and even as a young teenager, I always had a diary. I also learned to journal through treatment, therapy, and later in life, in addiction treatment. I have always had some sort of diary or journal with me most of the time. I enjoyed writing, made up poems with a wish that someday they would become some famous words in a song. Just having dreams. Maybe even being a writer someday or a published author. Then things began to happen in my life that I would ask God many, many times
Why Me?

As a little girl, I had many dark secrets being held inside me for many years. It’s when some of my rage slowly began, but you’d never know it. My secrets of years from heavy-handed discipline, hurtful verbal abuse by my parents as a teen, sexually abused from age 7 to 11 years old. And not by one, but by two men, so-called friends of the family. And certain things that happen in a dysfunctional family that linger with you, an awful secret my parents kept from my brother, my sisters. and me for years until we found out later in as adults. I seemed to hang on to all of that, and stuffed it way deep inside me. Then adulthood comes calling. Life begins to happen. The job, the responsibilities,  marriage, the bills, and the stress society puts on us. And you think your just another normal, average, everyday person like the rest of the people living in the world. Boy was I wrong.
Why?

One day, something happened. Something changed inside me A sort of shift. Not a particular event or anything, but just something inside you doesn’t quite feel right. Call it self-awareness? Oh no. When you bury hurt and pain for years? It builds and builds, and my storm was coming  . . .
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Then, you lose a very special person in your life to cancer. This starts a chain reaction in life. He was only 36 at the time of his passing, and he was like my brother I never had.  And, . . he happened to be the only person I ever told what I went through as a little girl. Things no little girl should have to endure.

Now he was gone . . .

That set up that  “Perfect Storm” in my life at the ripe young age of 30. And for the next 11 years or so I lost myself. I lost myself to a deep dark monster called gambling addiction. Now your most likely asking yourself about now, “what does all that have to do with writing?”. . .  I’ll get to that shortly.

I was about 36 when it began around 1996. I started using gambling to “escape the old past haunts and pain knocking at my door.” I was also suffering undiagnosed mental and emotional health disorders. Went undiagnosed, as my psychiatrist says, since I was that little lost, hurt and isolated girl. Then the gambling addiction and alcohol abuse on top of all that pain years later?  Lets just say it didn’t end very well.  All of that story can be read in my current book titled, “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”

My writing was of my saving grace. Even after all the bad I went through with my addictions, and there was a lot of bad, and yes, due to my poor choices, but I was a very sick person at the time. No, no excuses, just insights into an another addict.  Another addict who has turned her life around for the better.  But 2011 and a news article got me write, I wrote like crazy to see it all.  All the bad, all the good, and even in my darkest of days, even after my 2 failed suicide attempts, the 2 hospital trips, and to the Mental/Addictions Crisis Center in 2002, and 2006.

WHY did I write?

Because I needed an outlet to purge all that old hurt, pain, shame, guilt, and so much more! Writing for me was like my bible. Yes, my 5 hand written notebooks were also my bible. Writing helped me to sort through it all, begin to heal, and to begin to start letting go, start to forgive, and begin long-term recovery and healing. Writing was my life line into my soul. It helped me to recover from this cunning addiction of gambling and alcohol abuse. Writing was again responsible for my 5 notebooks I hand wrote in for a year. Everything I went through with my addictions, which became a published book.

And the rest? GODS intervention, his doing and Miracle. He was the one who gave me a way to help others suffering from this and all addictions. He has given me my purpose in life, to help others. He was the one who gave me the gift to write. (And that doesn’t mean I’m a professional writer). . . It means I get to express my recovery, share my story and journey through the magic of written words. I can share what is in or in my heart at any given moment. That is what being a writer means to me and why.

Even today, it still brings tears to my eyes when I read those dark pages in my diary/journals after both suicide attempts. I was so angry the first time at God! I just wanted him to let me die already, so I wouldn’t hurt myself, and those around me any longer through my addiction. It wasn’t ME, it was the Sick Me! I didn’t have the strength to stop compulsively gambling, and was really tired of being sick and tired. The second suicide attempt? Well,  that was all me. I had stopped taking my bipolar, depression, and PTSD medications. And in just a few short weeks, I spiraled out of control to another suicide attempt and mental break down.  ~My world went Black for the second time~

To Be Continued . . . . *Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author/Writer*
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“The cruelest lies are often told in silence.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson ~


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Do You Know About Compulsive Gambling Addiction? Just Some Facts . . .

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome All,

 

So what is compulsive addicted gambling the disease? It IS:

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Yes, gambling addiction is a real disease. I say it all the time, and I won’t stop saying it until we get this addiction known far and wide. WHY? Because the public has no idea that this addiction claims more lives from SUICIDE than any other addiction.
And currently the rise in mental/emotional disorders from the after effects of years of addicted gambling is now becoming more the norm sitting in meetings and recovery groups. We are seeing a huge rise in people who are addicted gamblers and now suffering from many mental/emotional under lying issues. It’s called being Dual Diagnosed. What is dual diagnosis?

About Dual Diagnosis of Addiction & Mental Illness:

In the field of addictions and mental health, dual diagnosis is a term that describes people who struggle with an addiction and a mental health disorder. It is actually quite common, as substance abuse can often play a large role in mental health.

For example, there may be a person who has a diagnosis of major depression and is also addicted to alcohol. Or someone who has borderline personality disorder may struggle with a gambling addiction. It only makes sense that addictions can affect mental health and the state of your mental health can affect your decisions to engage or abstain from substances like alcohol and drugs.

Dual diagnosis was introduced to the mental health field more than two decades ago, though there is still a misunderstanding among some professionals as to the exact nature of the diagnosis. Currently, the health care system treats the addiction first and then treats the psychiatric issue  .  .  .


“If I did not get tangled in gambling addiction, landed in a Crisis Center after my first suicide attempt, and was diagnosed with bipolar severe depression and mild mania, with PTSD in 2002, I feel I would still be undiagnosed today, and have had more added mental/emotional disorders since I am in long-term recovery which now include PTSD and Agoraphobia. But here are some facts that you may not know about gambling addiction & problem gambling.”


Just the Facts Man:
About Gambling Addiction & Problem Gambling:

Treatment for compulsive gambling starts with recognizing there is a problem. Denial is common among those who are addicted and the compulsive gambler is no different.

Problem gambling is defined as a progressive increase in gambling (both frequency and amount of money) over time and an inability to stop despite negative consequences. The term problem gambler is preferred, because it includes other types – pathological gambler and compulsive gambler. The harm doesn’t have to be entirely borne by the gambler, often it is visited upon loved ones and others.

Gambling addiction starts out as a solution to a problem. The problem may be as simple as boredom or as complex as a feeling of having failed at life. Unfortunately, the temporary escape gambling provides isn’t a very good solution. It creates another set of difficulties, often much worse than the problem it was meant to solve.

One of the symptoms of a gambling addiction is the unwillingness or inability to admit there is any wrong at all. Because of this, the following questions are meant to highlight the common symptoms that indicate addictive behavior.

Questions (Adapted from Gamblers Anonymous and Psychologist, Anywhere, Anytime)

  • Has gambling ever caused you to miss work (or school) or been the subject of an argument with a loved one?
  • Do you have a reputation as someone who gambles?
  • Does gambling occupy your thoughts when you aren’t actively playing?
  • Have you had the urge either to win more when you have won or recover from losses by winning back your money?
  • Have you ever gambled on credit or borrowed money to gamble?
  • Do you gamble to improve your mood or to help overcome problems at home or work?
  • Do you believe you can ‘strike it rich’ or change your lifestyle with gambling?
  • Do you have a close relative who is/was a problem gambler?
  • Are you most comfortable with friends who also gamble and is this the basis for the friendship?
  • Have you ever tried to stop gambling but returned?
  • Do you feel bad after a session of gambling is over?
  • When you gamble, do you keep at it until your money runs out?IF you answer YES to seven of these questions? You have a gambling problem, and addicted gambling is not to far behind. . .

    Definition of Problem Gambler

    A problem gambler is defined as someone who continues the behavior despite negative consequences in a progressive manner.

    How much of a problem gambling becomes depends on how long the addiction continues. Early intervention, before major harm (bankruptcy, divorce, arrest, suicide) occurs is the best choice, but many addicts continue until they can no longer manage the collateral damage and are forced to confront their addiction. It doesn’t have to be that way; there is help available no matter what stage of the addiction you are in.

    So if you feel you or someone you love has a gambling problem? Help them get their life back. It’s NOT who they are, it is the disease that is making them sick. No, not an excuse or denial. Compulsive gambling addiction is like all other addictions. Until we deal with the meat of this disease, learn how to break down and interrupt 3 area’s of any type of addiction, which is: the Cycle, the Bad Habits and Bad Behaviors we learn and use to stay within our addition. Those 3 and more need to be addressed in order to be successful in long-term recovery. There is help and it can be done!


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    I hope this information is helpful to understand a little more about a very Powerful, Cunning, and Baffling Addiction.
    It will take work, but it is worth the FIGHT!

    How To Begin Recovery:

    Even though they can be shown how their habit has shaped and harmed their lives, they can often point to a “big win” as justification. Motivation is critical and many of those in treatment are only there because their spouse, or employer, or a court has insisted on it. Before treatment can help, the gambler has to believe there is a real addiction that requires treatment.
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    Two Tracks

    Informal Support Groups

    There are two tracks available for treatment and both may be used simultaneously. The first is an informal support group, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. The twelve-step program in Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is free and gives the addict access to a large support group of peers who understand the problem. The atmosphere is non-judgmental and supportive.

    Cognitive-behavioral Therapy

    The second track is based on cognitive-behavioral therapy. It seeks to change the way the gambler sees his problem and his situation. Unhealthy beliefs and rationalizations are confronted. Patients are taught techniques to fight urges and deal with stressors (financial and emotional) that lead to compulsive acts. The goal is to change the way gambling is understood by the patient in order to alter behavior.

    An advantage of cognitive-behavioral therapy over group support is that it is individualized and can address other life issues that might be acting as triggers. The main disadvantage is cost and the unfortunate mis-labeling of therapy as something appropriate only for the weak or those who have a mental disorder.

    Treatment will also attempt to limit the material supports that allow gambling to occur: Money; Time; Venue – these are all required for the activity.

    Maintenance

    Maintenance is important so that the gambling compulsion doesn’t reemerge. GA is an excellent resource and a way to give back to others. Beyond this, attention must be paid to avoid tempting situations and give up access to funds – at least in the short-term. Cultivating relationships that promote accountability and finding enjoyable interests that replace gambling are also important.

    One of the key triggers for this addiction is stress. Problem gamblers are able to get lost in their compulsion and the artificial, stress-and-relief cycle of gambling is a way to escape unmanaged stress in their lives. Stress will arise. Techniques to manage stress have to be learned and practiced . . .

    God Bless All,
    Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate

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