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  • RI Gambling Treatment Program

  • Treatment

  • Often, gamblers have other problems that are part of the reason they gamble. These may include depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders. It is not known whether one problem causes the other. It is more important to get a clear picture of the individual. This is why a complete evaluation is recommended.

    Problem gambling must be treated on several levels at the same time. We assess psychiatric, behavioral, financial and family problems associated with problem gambling. Some people are referred to psychiatrists directly connected to the program who can help with medication when that is needed.

    The therapists at the Rhode Island Gambling Treatment Program use the assessment to work with gamblers and help them design treatment goals. Goals are individual to each person and are not based on a "one size fits all" model.

    Treatment goals may include:

    • Reestablishing trust and communication in relationships.
    • Learning about the triggers that are associated with gambling.
    • Learning how to cope with strong urges.
    • Addressing feelings related to gambling:
      • Depression
      • Excitement - incredible euphoria
      • Sadness
      • Anxiety
      • Guilt
      • Shame
      • HALT - hungry, angry, lonely, tired
    • Developing support networks and new activities ("filling the void").

    Individualized treatment options 

    • Therapists are familiar with legal and financial issues people often have when they enter treatment. They have worked with probation officers and financial advisors.
    • They also have a working relationship with Gamblers Anonymous that will help ease the transition for people who are new to self-help.
    • Therapists can help individuals exclude themselves from casinos without visiting casinos during therapy.
    • Treatment for couples is available.
    • Structured group therapy guided by treatment professionals is available.

    Treatment for family members is available whether or not the gambler is in treatment. This may include:

    • individual counseling for family members.
    • education on problem/compulsive gambling.
    • coping with anger and loss of trust.
    • education on financial protection for the family.