Gambling Addiction


Is gambling addiction a problem for me?

gambling addictionDo you...

  • Think about gambling a great deal of your time?
    Lie about your gambling to others?
    Gamble while bills go unpaid?
    Borrow money to finance your gambling?
    Miss work because of your gambling?
    Feel anxious, depressed or suicidal after you gamble, but not quitting?

If you answered yes to any of these, you could have a gambling addiction problem.

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How do I stop my problem gambling?

Gambling addiction (compulsive gambling and pathological gambling) is a growing problem in the United States. Casinos, lotteries, and the availability of bookies are easier, faster, and more widespread. Internet gambling impact reaches far and wide. The good news is that Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) based Professional Treatment and Self-Help models such as SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training) can be very helpful for gaining independence from addictions, including problem gambling. SMART Recovery is an alternative to Gamblers Anonymous (GA) as well as other 12-step programs.

compulsive gamblingSMART Recovery’s potential effectiveness for assisting individuals to find relief from gambling addiction is supported by research. The National Center for Responsible Gambling Conference, co-sponsored by Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addictions and the Gaming Industry, introduced research clearly showing CBT to be an effective way to assist individuals interested in reducing problem gambling. Studies also show a correlation between alcohol, nicotine and other drugs, as well as gambling. Problematic gambling can lead to more destructive actions such as criminal behavior (i.e., embezzlement) and, possibly, suicide.

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How can SMART Recovery help me stop gambling?

SMART Recovery provides its members with tools and support that they can use to help them recover from addictive gambling behaviors as well as other negative and unwanted behaviors. SMART Recovery's 4-Point Program® is an alternative to 12 step programs, such as Gamblers Anonymous, and designed to help you overcome your problems with gambling addiction:

1. Enhancing & Maintaining Motivation to Quit – Helps you identify and keep up with your reasons to stop gambling. Why do you want to stop - what will keep you focused on that goal?

2. Coping with Urges – Dealing with urges is part of recovery. SMART has tools designed to help our members cope with urges.

3. Managing Problems – We frequently turn to our addictive behaviors (like gambling addiction) to either escape from or avoid addressing problems. SMART Recovery participants learn problem-solving tools to help them manage challenges along the way.

4. Lifestyle Balance – SMART give members skills to help balance both short and long-term goals, pleasures and needs that were once out of balance.

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Where can I go from here?

gambling-addiction-recoveryGetting started with SMART Recovery is easy!

If you would like to get started right away, you can join our online support community where you can read, share and learn from our worldwide network of members at any time of the day or night. Be sure to check out our Gambling Addiction support forum there.

You can also find a local free SMART Recovery meeting, or, if we don’t have any meetings in your area yet, you can join us at one of our online meetings.

If you’d like to have printed study material, we suggest the SMART Recovery Handbook.



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SMART Recovery® gratefully appreciates the support of the following organizations:

                     non-12-step rehab        Drug Rehabilitation Treatment Center