Treatment for problem gambling involves counseling, step-based programs, self-help, peer-support, or a combination of these.
Similar to other behavioral addictions, therapists have found that problem gamblers respond positively to pharmacological and psychosocial treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy has shown to be particularly effective, as it teaches relapse prevention skills and how to change habits, as well as identifying the underlying cause of behavior.
Motivational interviewing is one of the treatments of problem gambling. The motivational interviewer’s basic goal is promoting readiness to change through thinking and resolving mixed feelings. Avoiding aggressive confrontation, argument, labeling,
blaming, and direct persuasion, the interviewer supplies empathy and advice to compulsive gamblers who define their own goal. The focus is on promoting freedom of choice and encouraging confidence in the ability to change.
12 Step-based programs such as Gambler’s Anonymous are specific to gambling and generic to healing addiction, creating financial health, and improving mental wellness. Commercial alternatives that are designed for clinical intervention, using the best of health science and applied education practices, have been used as patient-centered tools for intervention since 2007. They include measured efficacy and resulting recovery metrics.
Research into self-help for problem gamblers has shown benefits. Some find it helpful to speak with others in a similar situation.
A growing method of treatment is peer support. With the advancement of online gambling, many gamblers experiencing issues use various online peer-support groups to aid their recovery. This protects their anonymity while allowing them to attempt recovery on their own, often without having to disclose their issues to loved ones.