However, when it comes to the five million people in the United States who have a gambling addiction, the costs are not just monetary. They also include costs to the family, jobs and other social relationships. Gambling addictions can destroy a person very quickly. It is believed that more than 80 percent of gambling addicts are not getting or planning to get any type of treatment for their addiction. Even though they are not being treated, there are costs that are related to the addiction.
- Gambling addictions are a major cause of divorce as well as loss of job and friends.
- Gambling has placed more than four million people in severe debt.
- Only 20 percent of people with an gambling addiction are receiving treatment.
- Treatment for the addiction is successful in more than 90 percent of all individuals seeking help.
- It is possible to completely recover from a gambling addiction with treatment.
Treating Gambling Addictions
The costs of gambling addictions are not just in terms of finances, however. When a person finally realizes they have a gambling addiction, treatment will help, and yes, that will incur a cost. Some insurance companies will pay for a portion of the treatment, but only 20 percent of those with a gambling addiction will benefit from insurance coverage. The first step to treating a gambling addiction is the recognition of the problem. Denial is the most common thing experienced by addicts. More than 90 percent of gambling addicts are in denial about their problem. Even when people do admit they have a problem, 75 percent of addicts will justify their habit by pointing to big wins. (See Gambling Addiction Facts).
- Eighty percent of gambling addicts are receiving treatment only because their spouse, court or employer has insisted upon it.
- More than 60 percent of gambling addicts have thought they have had a problem at one point, but continued to gamble in spite of that recognition.
In regards to the cost of gambling addiction treatment, there is one form of treatment that bears no financial cost. In fact, more than 80 percent of gambling addicts are using this type of treatment – informal support groups. This type of treatment is similar to other 12-step treatments. Support groups give addicts access to a large number of people who have gambling addictions. Having a group of people who understand the compulsion to gamble is essential and benefits more than 70 percent of people being treated for the addiction.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is another form of therapy for the gambling addict. This therapy is designed to change the way the gambler sees the current problem and situation. While receiving this therapy, addicts will be taught how to fight their urges to gamble. They will also be taught new coping skills to help them overcome stressors that can lead them to commit compelling acts. The ultimate goal of CBT is to change the way gambling is seen and understood by the addict. This type of therapy is successful in more than 65 percent of addicts who have admitted they have a problem. Cognitive behavioral therapy has many advantages over informal support groups.
- The main advantage is that the therapy is individualized and will address the issues of each addict.
- No two addicts will respond to treatment in the same manner and therapy will address other life issues that may be acting as triggers.
There is a cost for this therapy. If insurance will not pay for the therapy, it will cost between $100 and $150 per session. Many gambling addicts, about 60 percent, who receive CBT will be able to use their insurance to cover the cost of mental health visits. This usually occurs once a week, but some addicts will benefit from additional therapy sessions. It has been reported that more than 25 percent of addicts went to therapy sessions twice a week when they first began their treatment.
Benefits of Treating Gambling Addictions
Since an addiction to gambling can be so devastating, getting help to stop the gambling will provide many benefits. An estimated 30 percent of gambling addicts have reported being financially stable after their treatment while an additional 40 percent reported getting a steady job. Dealing with a gambling addiction can be difficult and very taxing on families. More than 85 percent of people with a gambling addiction will lose their family before they seek treatment.