Does Gambling Addiction Recovery Involve Withdrawal Symptoms?

Does Gambling Addiction Recovery Involve Withdrawal Symptoms?According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), as published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM IV), pathological gambling addiction exhibits a number of criteria, including the following:

  • Preoccupation – constantly thinking of gambling, preparing for gambling, recalling gambling events and desiring to continue gambling
  • Tolerance – not being satisfied with the current level of gambling activity and feeling the need to increase the level of gambling in frequency or amount
  • Withdrawal – emotional, physical or psychological reactions to attempts to stop gambling
  • Escape – using gambling to avoid dealing with problems or feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression

Some additional criteria that the APA provides to identify gambling addiction includes chasing, lying, losing control, committing illegal acts and risking significant relationships. The destructive behaviors associated with gambling addiction are progressive in nature and often result in a person who has become untrustworthy, has damaged relationships and may be financially destroyed.

The Cycle of Gambling Addiction

As with other addictions, gambling often follows a cyclical pattern that features a number of phases, including the following:

  • The gambler begins compulsively gambling because he is bored, he is trying to fill a void in his life or he wants to relieve anxiety or depression
  • The gambler often loses a considerable amount of money early in the process and feels anxious about trying to regain his money
  • Then the gambler enters an emotional state the he believes can only be corrected by winning, which leads him to continue to gamble
  • The gambler may eventually win and the exhilaration of winning may motivate him to continue gambling
  • When the gambler loses again, he often becomes emotionally deflated and returns to feeling the need to relieve his anxiety or depression

Unfortunately, as the person continues to cycle through this addiction, he may begin to face increasingly severe problems with the law, his employer or his relationships.

How Gambling Addiction Treatment Can Help

The most effective treatment option for compulsive gambling is a professional addiction treatment program, such as a 12-step program. Gamblers Anonymous is one such program that believes the first step toward recovery is for the addict to accept the fact that he is in the grip of a progressive illness and to have a desire to get well.

12-step programs can help a gambling addict bring about a progressive series of positive changes in his life by following the basic 12-step concepts. According to Gamblers Anonymous, gambling addiction is one of the most baffling, insidious and compulsive addictions and recovering requires diligent effort, honesty and open-mindedness.

Finding Help for Gambling Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with a gambling addiction, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about gambling addiction and its withdrawal symptoms. Finding the right addiction treatment program to meet your needs or the needs of someone you love can be an overwhelming experience. We can help connect you with the best recovery resources for your situation. Please call now.