Gambling Addiction Intervention

Apr 20, 2024

Gambling addiction is hard to detect, unlike other addictions like drugs or alcohol. This makes it possible for some to hide it longer. They’re willing to go to great lengths to make it happen. 

Compulsive gambling is the inability to control gambling despite the toll it takes on you or your loved ones. If you or someone you know has a gambling addiction, an intervention might be the first step to recovery. 

An intervention should take place in a controlled environment with a professional interventionist. This allows you to approach the individual in a safe space and encourage them to get help.

During the intervention, the gambler’s family, friends, loved ones, and partner share their experiences. 

An intervention shouldn’t be conducted by family alone. It’s wise to enlist a professional since it’s an overwhelming experience. If the gambling addict responds aggressively, the professional interventionist can de-escalate the situation. 

Who Should be Involved?

The addict’s family and friends should be involved. But that doesn’t mean you should invite everyone you know. It’s important to include the ones who were the most impacted by the individual’s gambling addiction.

This allows them to speak their piece and provide evidence of the gambler’s addiction and how it ruined their relationship. As mentioned, you should have a Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW) or licensed interventionist who can play off the emotions experienced.  

Preparing for an Intervention

An intervention shouldn’t take place at the last minute. It also shouldn’t happen spontaneously. Interventions require weeks of planning. Also, you don’t want to prepare too much because it could dissuade some people from getting involved. 

Plan the day and time that everyone can attend. You should also choose a time when your loved one isn’t gambling. 

Research gambling addiction to understand this disorder. You should also share information about the individual’s addiction and the intervention, so everyone knows what to expect. Appoint one point of contact who can organize the intervention.

Hold a meeting or phone call to share any updates before the intervention. You should also stage a rehearsal a week before, so everyone is on track. This helps you respond to your loved one’s objections.

They may not want to receive treatment or take responsibility for their addiction. A rehearsal can also help you stay on track and avoid confrontation.

Remember, this is not a place to attack them. Everyone should remain calm if the individual feels angry, betrayed, or hurt. The interventionist can decide the next course of action. Allow your loved one to start treatment as soon as they agree. 

What Happens at an Intervention?

An intervention should not be mistaken for a confrontation. You should refrain from pressing the individual for questions. 

This is why pre-planning is important. Instead, you should provide concrete examples of their gambling addiction. 

A successful intervention relies on the interventionist, family, friends, colleagues, and partners to make the individual with a gambling issue aware of the damage caused to their relationship. Everyone should remain calm and share how they were affected. 

Do you need an interventionist?

Interventions can occur without an interventionist. But it’s better to have an expert opinion. But when it comes to addiction, a different approach is needed. You need to work with someone familiar with gambling addiction. The interventionist can also help you prepare for a successful intervention. It’s also best to hold an intervention at a professional’s office, if possible. 

An interventionist has the knowledge to help motivate the individual to seek help. It can be hard to help someone by yourself. You want to have an honest, heart-to-heart conversation with that person. 

They will discover the individual’s problem, suggest the best approach, and offer treatment and follow-up plans, if needed. The interventionist should be present throughout to keep the meeting on track. 

Working with an interventionist can lead to a successful intervention. This is especially the case if your loved one has a history of mental illness, suicide, or violence. 

What is an intervention letter?

Sometimes an intervention letter is required. This can be given before or during the intervention. Or, the letter could eliminate the need for an intervention. 

Practice reading the intervention letter out loud so you know what to say. Each person should add their experience or story in the intervention letter. 

The letter should include specific incidents caused by the gambling addict. You might want to give them an ultimatum such as, “If you don’t accept treatment today, I will not give you any more money.”

When to have an intervention?

An intervention is required when you notice the individual’s gambling destroyed their personal and work relationships. Since gambling addiction is different for each person, it can be hard to recognize the signs.

Common signs include an increasing obsession with gambling. You might find that they’re always thinking or talking about gambling. They might plan their next strategy or opportunity to gamble. 

The individual might also spend more time at the casino or on gambling apps. Other signs include chasing losses, accumulating debt, inability to quit gambling, and irritability or frustration when trying to stop gambling. 

Treatment Options

Treatment offers hope and encouragement to gambling addicts and their loved ones. Three treatment options include Gamblers Anonymous (GA), inpatient or outpatient treatment, or therapy and counseling. 

The level of treatment depends on the severity of the addiction. Each option includes some form of psychotherapy and medication, depending on the gambler’s emotional and mental well-being. 

Recovery is successful when the addict is away from their environment and temptation. During these meetings, they will discover the causes of their gambling addiction as they seek healing and develop new behavioral patterns. 

Birches Health offers gambling addiction treatment that works. It’s safe, confidential, and effective. Take the free assessment today.

Resources:

How to Stage an Intervention for a Loved One with a Gambling Problem

Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction

How to Write a Sample Intervention Letter

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