- Are you concerned that you can’t control your gambling?
- Have you lost a significant amount of money from betting?
- Do you hide your activities?
- Do you neglect work and/or personal responsibilities?
Gambling is a recreational activity that many people enjoy. Legalized gambling has significantly expanded how many people gamble. However, for some, gambling can cause financial, social, and psychological harm. Approximately 6% of adults in America struggle with gambling and 2.4% of adults meet the criteria for gambling disorder. Over 90% of individuals with a gambling problem suffer from another psychiatric disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Fortunately, gambling addiction treatment is possible.
What Is Gambling Disorder?
Gambling refers to behaviors that involve using risk for a monetary benefit based on a chance. Sports betting, lottery, slot machines, animal races, video game betting, and card games are just some of the ways that people gamble. Individuals gamble at various venues, including the casino, online, or a friend’s house. Gambling disorder is characterized by gambling behavior that causes significant problems in your life. Some issues you may notice are:
- You gamble with more and more money to achieve a high level of excitement.
- You have trouble reducing the time you spend on gambling and become irritable when you do.
- You’ve unsuccessfully stopped gambling.
- You think about gambling often and have trouble concentrating on important activities in your life.
- You feel hopeless, guilty, shameful, depressed, and/or anxious.
- When you lose money, you feel a need to return to recapture your losses.
- You lie to hide your problems with gambling.
- Your relationships have been impaired and your work, school, and/or social responsibilities have suffered.
- You’ve borrowed money to pay off gambling debts.
Gambling Disorder Therapy
Gambling counseling involves psychological therapy focused on changing your behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. Dr. Mazzei, an addiction expert, can help you overcome your issues with compulsive gambling and live a more fulfilling life. She integrates proven psychological therapies for problem gambling, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), hypnosis, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and biofeedback.
CBT for Gambling
CBT is the treatment of choice for gambling disorder. CBT is a psychological treatment designed to change the way you think, feel, and behave. You will learn to identify negative thoughts that may be contributing to problematic gambling and effective methods for changing these thoughts. When you change your thoughts, your mood often improves, and you feel better to do what’s important in your life. You’ll examine how you developed core beliefs that triggered addictive behaviors.
Childhood events, such as trauma and abuse, often led to core beliefs, such as “I am defective” or “I am unlovable”. These instilled beliefs continue into adulthood and can impact your emotions and behaviors in many areas of your life, including gambling. As with other addictions, gambling may be used to escape from distressing thoughts and emotions.
In addition to thought changing, you’ll learn how to cope with internal and external triggers. You will figure out how to deal with urges and reduce triggers in your environment. Replacing pleasurable activities in your life will allow you to enjoy areas outside of gambling. Relapse prevention is an important part of therapy because it combines what you’ve learned in therapy with ways to deal with future triggers.
EMDR for Gambling
EMDR therapy has been successfully used for trauma processing. Many people suffering from compulsive gambling have experienced trauma, including abuse, neglect, and violence. These events can have life-long impacts. When you struggle with a traumatic past, you may be using gambling as a temporary relief from psychological pain. This therapy utilizes bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, sounds, or tapping. EMDR keeps you grounded in the present while you reintegrate disturbing memories of the past in your brain. EMDR facilitates trauma processing so that you heal from your past and have helpful beliefs about yourself and your future.
Hypnotherapy for gambling focuses on changing subconscious beliefs so that you engage in more helpful behaviors. With a hypnotherapist, you will be guided into a trance-like state in which your brain is more receptive to suggestions. These suggestions are tailored to your specific goals and desires. During this relaxing time, you will be guided to make permanent changes in your thinking and behaviors.
Biofeedback is a training technique in which you learn to gain voluntary control over your automatic nervous system functioning. Using sophisticated computer equipment, you are given constant feedback on how your body responds to stimuli, such as a computer game or audio sound. You may learn to improve your breathing rate, heart rate, respiration, body temperature, EEG patterns, and muscle tension. Biofeedback has been shown to reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Within a supportive and encouraging space, Dr. Mazzei and you will identify your triggers, foster insight, and develop effective coping skills. She believes in healing your past while manifesting a meaningful future.
How We Can Help
If you are suffering from problem gambling, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how Dr. Mazzei can help you, follow these simple steps:
- Text today at (480) 448-6755 or e-mail us for a free consultation
- Or, you can book directly online with Dr. Mazzei
- Begin your journey towards a fulfilling and healthier life
Dr. Mazzei offers both in-person and online gambling addiction treatment for residents of Arizona, Illinois, and Nevada. Her private practice is located at 3120 N. Arizona Ave. Suite 103, Chandler, AZ.