The Time is Right for Gambling Addiction Treatment

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With the proliferation of gambling on the Internet, a corresponding need for treatment facilities for compulsive gamblers has become apparent. Compulsive gambling is a disease, every bit as devastating as drug addiction and alcoholism. In some ways, compulsive gambling is a bit more sinister.

With substance abuse, there are undeniable physical signs of addiction. The effects of compulsive gambling are more subtle. The attack is directed more towards psychology and the wallet. Of course, the results of any kind of addiction includes loss of family, friends, money, personal belongings, safety, freedom and/or self-respect.

It is very important to be careful not to condemn the gambling industry because of issues related to compulsive gambling. Gambling is perfectly legal and a legitimate form of entertainment for those people who can do it responsibly. There will always be individuals who are prone to some type of compulsive behavior and the excitement produced by gambling lends itself to someone losing control.

Gambling is not going away anytime soon. In fact, the availability of gambling is increasing exponentially as more jurisdictions legalize all forms of gambling as a means of garnering tax revenues. What is needed to counteract the possible effects of gambling on society and the compulsive gambler is education and an increase in treatment options.

It is incumbent on gaming providers and lawmakers to help educate the public on the possible signs and effects of problem gambling. There must be a willingness on the part of gaming providers to say "no" to potential compulsive gamblers, much the same way as a bartender will say "no" to a drunk. On top of that, responsible gambling should be promoted and gaming providers should try to discourage gamblers from gambling and betting too much. There also needs to be laws in place to help family members protect their addicted love ones from creating more destruction in their lives.

The most important improvement needed is the availability of treatment options for compulsive gamblers. There are numerous support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous that provide some support and guidance for people who are combating a gambling problem, But, these groups are not prepared to deal with the psychological and personal aspects of the disease. The world is desperately in need of more trained mental health professionals to help address the causes and effects of this disease. This need extends to the need for more inpatient facilities for the treatment of gambling addiction.

There are no quick fixes to problem gambling for the individual inflicted with this horrible disease. The treatment and arresting of this disease will require unrelenting diligence plus the undying support of family friends and a responsible gambling industry that cares about more than the bottom line.
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