Gambling vs. Substance Abuse: Help in Choosing Gambling Addiction Treatment Centers

While related, gambling and substance addiction do have significant differences. These distinctions can help family members choose among a myriad of gambling addiction treatment centers for their loved one who may be struggling with compulsive gambling. While others may offer help for both disorders, knowing important factors for treating gambling addiction and substance abuse can narrow down potential facilities.

Similarities Between Gambling Addiction and Substance Abuse

  • Unique Intervention
    Both conditions have been found to require unique treatment plans. Since there is a higher success rate for individuals suffering from either when programs are made to match their own addictions, compulsive gamblers will predictably not do as well on a treatment plan that caters to substance abuse, and vice versa.
  • Modalities
    There are a range of similar modalities that can benefit both, such as group therapy, family therapy, and individual therapy.
  • Effect on Family Members
    Both disorders have also been found to have serious effects on family members. Children of alcoholics, for example, suffer many developmental, interpersonal, and emotional problems as a result of having a parent that is dependent on alcohol. Teens who have relatives who are problem gamblers are also more likely to pick up the habit than those who do not.

Key Differences in Treatment

  • Cognitive Aspects of Gambling
    Compulsive gambling is seen more as a cognitive-based disorder compared to substance abuse. This means that individuals suffering from problem gambling would need cognitive therapy with their recovery program to really address and fix the issues that lead to their condition. For those fresh from their recovery, relapse is likely if the cognitive distortions are not dealt with while in the program.
  • Medical Assistance
    On the other hand, substance abuse treatment would require more medical assistance than gambling addiction. This is because dependence on alcohol or drugs results in a decline in health. Also, withdrawing from these substances places significant stress on the body, so round-the-clock medical care is needed.
  • Financial Assessment
    Another component of gambling recovery that is not usually dealt with in the case of substance abusers is financial management. Most, if not all, individuals looking for help with their compulsive gambling problem do so because they have reached a point where their condition has gravely affected their financial situation. Issues like credit card control, financial planning, and debt resolution can all be part of the programs provided by gambling addiction treatment centers.

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