Problem Gambling

Welcome to mirimettoingioco.org we are an online guide to finding help for problem gambling in Italy, UK, Australia and Canada:

Treatment Centers for Problem Gamblers

Why do some people gamble even as the act unravels their lives? Gambling can lead to debt, estrangement from loved ones and uncontrollable spending, to name a few direct effects. Then, why is it that gamblers cannot seem to stop, even as they lose?

Well, it’s an addictive behavior. Most people afflicted by the gambling itch couldn’t even begin to explain why they can’t stop. It’s a multifaceted disorder and means different things to different people. For some, the glitz and glamour of the casino might be an escape from everyday life. For others, it might produce an exhilarating adrenaline rush, or maybe it’s a social norm in their circles or a combination of these or other reasons.

Of course, this means that treating a gambling addiction involves more nuance than you might have thought. Addicts need to be diagnosed and prescribed a treatment program that befits their individual conditions. Therefore, if you have addicted friends or family, or if you yourself are trying to get rid of this problem, it is vital that you choose a rehabilitation centre that is able to work with your needs.

This article will detail some places that offer excellent rehab treatment to gambling addicts.

In Italy:

Gamblers Anonymous:
Italy – Gamblers Anonymous

In UK:

Castle Craig Hospital, The Scottish Borders, Scotland

Castle Craig Hospital specializes in the treatment drug, alcohol and gambling related addictions. Castle Craig’s philosophy on addiction in general is that it is a disease that requires abstinence from all mind-altering drugs in order to truly be on the road to recovery.

Their Gambling Addiction program is based on a 12-step treatment model that integrates some of the principles of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous into the approach. Patients undertake a completely comprehensive assessment before being admitted, as well as in the days following admission. A care plan is devised for each patient that takes care of each of their individualised needs. The care plan is meant to help the patient understand the nature of their own affliction and to help them avoid relapse. Additionally, each patient is assigned their own focal therapist to provide them with personalized guidance throughout the stages of the program.

The therapists at Castle Craig are trained in Cognitive Behavioral Theory, a talking therapy that is meant to eliminate negative thoughts, attitude and behaviours that could impede a patient’s treatment. In conjunction with the 12-step program, it aims to help patients recognise relapse triggers, deal with their responses to said triggers with the aid of coping skills, and learn to avoid negative feelings while rebuilding self-esteem and assertiveness. CBT is meant to help the patient shed the mantle of the victim, and take responsibility for their own actions.

The therapists help patients develop SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound). Thus patients are able to monitor and measure their own progress in small but significant steps. They also run Gamblers Anonymous 12-Step Groups, similar to the Alcoholics Anonymous groups. These groups allow gamblers to draw support and help from other people in the same situations.

The website can be visited at http://www.castlecraig.co.uk/. You can reach Castle Craig at info@castlecraig.co.uk.

National Problem Gambling Clinic, Central and North West London

This clinic treats compulsive gamblers in England and Wales. It provides individual and group treatment over the recovery period. The company website offers a do it yourself questionnaire that allows gamblers to assess whether or not they require the clinic’s services. Gamblers can then refer themselves to the clinic without requiring a discussion with a qualified GP, or a GP might make the referral. They are then given an assessment appointment where they detail their situation.

Treatment is then prescribed according to the individual’s needs. These needs are assessed, and new developments, if any, are incorporated into the program on a weekly basis. Treatment options include highly personalized one-to-one therapy and group therapy where clients learn to identify and positively react to their gambling triggers, and to cope with urges and behaviours that might cause a relapse. Patients who are relapsing can also undergo a brief intervention, which refers to a series of four meetings with a psychologist. The psychologist uses the clinic’s official self-help manual during these meetings, and focuses on topics specific to the nature of the relapse.

The clinic is also a proponent of CBT, citing it as a tool that has seen a pattern of both short term and long term success. The treatment is 8 session long, with each session a week covering a different topic. CBT usually takes place in a group setting, and stresses the importance of practicing what has been taught during these sessions, sometimes in the form of homework assignments like developing a new hobby. If it is hard for clients to make it to scheduled appointments in person at the clinic, the CBT can be administered through telephone or email as well.

Patients additionally go through psychiatric assessment and are given assistance with any other mental health problems that they may have. They may also join the financial awareness program to help them manage their finances and debt situation rationally, and are given employment guidance to fast-track their way back into becoming productive members of society.

After the CBT or brief interventions, the patient and psychologist review together the progress made. There is the possibility of further one-on-one sessions with a psychologist if it seems the patient has not made enough headway, needs some help with short-term mental issues, or if it seems likely the patient may suffer a relapse. Aftercare is provided to all patients who have finished their treatment course in the form of a monthly post treatment support group. Patients are free to visit if they ever feel the need for some guidance.

You can visit the website at http://www.cnwl.nhs.uk/, or contact the clinic at gambling.cnwl@nhs.net.

Gordon Moody Association, UK

Gordon Moody Association is a registered charity that provides guidance and therapeutic support to individuals with a gambling addiction in Great Britain. The two residential treatment centres focus exclusively on gambling, and provide a safe place for gamblers to recover in. In addition, they also provide online support to problem gamblers outside the UK. This organization also offers an online questionnaire on its website to help participants assess whether or not they have a gambling problem. An online link is also given to the families and friends of patients in order to keep them in the loop about their situation. Gordon Moody also has a special program for women problem gamblers.

The residential program is 12 weeks long, and incorporates both individual and group therapy. It aims to instil coping skills within the residents in order to help them recover and move back into society minus the urge to gamble. Gordon Moody accepts individual referrals, or referrals made by any other person on behalf of an individual, on the condition that the individual agrees to this.

When a patient has completed the program, they can take advantage of the outreach service for as long as they need it. Gordon Moody offers halfway accommodation for up to 3 months in order to avoid the possibility of a relapse.

Gordon Moody’s website is https://www.gordonmoody.org.uk/, and its email address is help@gordonmoody.org.uk.

GamCare, London

GamCare is a registered charity that works with problem gamblers and the gambling industry in an attempt to participate in the eradication of the disorder. The centre operates the fully staffed National Gambling Helpline seven days a week, which offers advice and support to both problem gamblers and those affected by their relation to problem gamblers. The Helpline offers advice both through calls and a secure chat system. The centre also provides face-to face counselling to problem gamblers and their families.

Additionally, GamCare works with the gambling industry to increase their awareness of player protection and their own sense of social responsibility. Gambling organizations that are able to meet the player protection policy standards set by GamCare are awarded the GamCare Certification. Furthermore, it created an Interaction Training program that is meant to help customer service professionals at casinos and other gambling places to identify the symptoms of problem gambling behaviour. The program also focuses on advising managers on the ways they can help their customers play in a responsible and positive manner. GamCare also creates posters and stickers for gambling machines in order to promote its helpline and website.

You can contact GamCare at info@gamcare.org.uk.

Priory Group, UK

The Priory Group is a behavioural healthcare provider in the UK. Its addiction treatment programs cover alcohol, drugs and gambling. In order to help clients deal with their addiction, they offer a free initial assessment with a trained therapist at their addiction treatment hospitals where clients can freely talk about their problem in a safe and confidential environment. The centre perceives the gambling addiction to be a result of thrill-seeking behaviour that rewards risk-taking through a natural high. The centres attempt to understand the basis of individual addiction through personalized or group therapy. They employ cognitive behavioural therapy to help clients better understand the nature of their own affliction, and what their triggers are. Medical treatments are also offered.

You can visit the Priority Group at http://www.priorygroup.com/.

Nightingale Hospital, London

Nightingale Hospital is an institution dedicated to treating mental health issues, addictions and eating disorders. It tailors its treatment programs according to the need of each patient. In addition to CBT and Twelve Step Facilitation, they also incorporate Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy into their treatment. MET is an approach that encourages patients to be motivated by their own internal desire to be rehabilitated, while IPT tries to resolve the patient’s interpersonal problems with friends and family as a step towards recovery.

Their website can be visited at http://www.nightingalehospital.co.uk/, and they can be contacted at info@nightingalehospital.co.uk.

Addiction Services of Thames Valley, London

The Addiction Services of Thames Valleys is a community based agency that operates in conjunction with local mental health care providers. The agency screens, assesses, and plans and administers the treatment of problem gamblers, as well as internet and gaming addicts. Addiction Services’ website provides information in English and French, and can be reached at http://adstv.on.ca/.

Rutland Centre, South Dublin

Rutland Centre is a private addiction rehab centre that focuses on a drug-free residential program. The program tailors its approach to each individual according to their specific needs, and advises abstinence as the best way to manage addiction. The treatment is administered in the form of a 5 week Residential Treatment Program, and allows visits from family and friends twice a week during this time. Each day follows a schedule outlined in the timetable given to the patient on the first day. All patients are assigned a therapy group and a team of counsellors.

The program includes individual counselling as well as group therapy. The timetable also sets out a time for reading or reflection, recreational activities, mealtimes, drama therapy, lectures and bonding time with fellow patients.

Rutland Centre’s website is http://www.rutlandcentre.ie/.

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Australia:

The Cabin Sydney, Sydney

The Cabin Sydney offers outpatient treatment to problem gamblers, so patients can receive said treatment while still going about their everyday lives. Times for individual and group sessions are carefully scheduled around the individual’s own needs, so that it a lot more convenient and easy to stay committed to the program.

Instead of using traditional programs in their entirety, the Cabin uses an amalgamation of approaches from different programs such as CBT, 12 steps methods and mindfulness programs. These approaches have been incorporated into an overall plan the Cabin calls Recovery Zones.

Patients who would need residential treatment can instead avail the services of The Cabin’s sister organization The Cabin Chiang Mai.

The Cabin Sydney’s website can be found at https://www.thecabinsydney.com.au/.

The Hills Clinic, Sydney

The Hills Clinic is a mental health treatment provider in Sydney that offers recovery programs for a variety of mental health conditions, disorders and addictions. The Gambling Addiction Treatment views gambling behaviours as coping practices learned in order to deal with major stresses in the gamblers’ lives. The program aims to build skills in certain areas in order to manage difficult situations in a healthier manner and with a greater sense of control.

Patients also go through mindfulness meditation, a practice that is meant to improve concentration, and reduce stress and impulsiveness. Furthermore, there is a focus on rebuilding and repairing relationships that may have been damaged due to the addiction. Patients can also practice interpersonal skills in group settings at The Hills.

Visit their website at http://www.thehillsclinic.com.au/. The Hills can be contacted on  feedback@thehillsclinic.com.au.

The St. Vincent’s Hospital Sydney Gambling Treatment Program, Sydney

This program is government funded and provides free services to people afflicted by problem gambling. The treatment sessions are largely based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and are uniquely tailored to fit each individual’s needs. Additionally, the program offers treatment for depression and anxiety problems that may have been caused by the gambling addiction. The program also offers free and confidential appointments for the loved ones of problem gamblers. Family and friends can also attend informational sessions in order to get educated on warning signs and how they can play a role in helping the gambling addict in their lives.

The hospital assesses each patient before offering treatment in order to develop the treatment approach best suited to each individual. The treatment takes place in the form of weekly appointments that are around 50 minutes in length. Treatment focuses on educating the gambler on topics such as rates of gambling returns and the inner workings of various forms of gambling like poker machines. The patient learns to recognise what kind of thoughts lead to the act of gambling, and either how to avoid such thoughts or to start viewing gambling in a more negative manner. They also learn to identify their own triggers and potential relapse situations, and how to avoid these, whether by limiting the money they have access to or by changing their routines and activities.

Once treatment is over, the patient has regularly scheduled follow up sessions that will track their ongoing progress. Apart from these regular follow up sessions, additional sessions can also be scheduled between these times.

You can contact St. Vincent’s Hospital at svhs.gamblingtreatment@svha.org.au.

Aventa, Alberta

Aventa specializes in providing residential addiction treatment to women to help them readapt to society. It focuses on the traumas faced by these women that may have led them to develop an addiction as a coping mechanism. Their 21 step Gambling Treatment Program aims to help women adjust and conquer their addictive thought patterns and gambling habits, and develop a sustained support network.

You can visit their website at aventa.org.

South Country Treatment Centre

South Country Treatment Centre is a Canadian organization that offers a 4 week in-patient program to individuals suffering from drug, alcohol or gambling addictions. It helps patients along the path to recovery using the theories espoused by several models. As per the Final Common Pathway Theory of Addictions, the Centre views gambling addiction as rarely having one true cause, but rather being the result of a combination of various factors.

South Country uses the 12 step model and CBT. In addition to this, it also employs Person Centred Therapy which focuses on individuals developing their own strengths and happiness. Narrative Therapy is used to help clients examine their own lives and re-interpret their perspectives in a more positive manner.

The organization’s website provides admission forms that are to be filled in prior to gaining admittance. Family members and professionals can make referrals as well. South Country requires clients to be at least 5 days sober in order to be admitted inside the facilities.

South Country can be contacted at info@southcountrytreatment.com.

Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario, Ontario

The Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario specialises in gambling treatment, with patients participating in individualized clinical programs. The program also has specialized treatment services for women, minority groups and the youth and older adults. Treatment can be received in 17 different languages. The institute also provides training to employees working at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which is the agency that manages lotteries, casinos and other gambling facilities in Ontario. This training enables those employees to identify customers who are showing symptoms of problem gambling.

The Institute’s services are free of charge. While individual counselling is limited, group counselling is more readily available for problem gambling cases. Additionally, counselling is provided to family members affected by their loved one’s addiction, as well as to couples and families that are suffering through a gambling addiction together. The Institute focuses on identifying and relieving the stressors that lead to and the problems caused by gambling. It aims to help participants build new non-gambling coping skills in order to reduce their dependence on gambling.  It also provides referrals to other gambling addiction treatment centres if the patient is in need of additional services.

The Institute can be found online at www.ProblemGambling.ca, and emailed at gambling@camh.net.

Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services, Ontario

Rideauwood provides treatment services to both adult clients and their families. The institution has two gambling related programs: the Problem Gambling Program, and the Problem Gambling – Family Member Program. The first aims at helping clients diagnose and understand their own problems so they can participate in their recovery plans. Clients are helped along the realization of how gambling altered their lives and why they need to make a conscious decision to change their behaviour.

The program works in two phases: phase 1 refers to two information nights that take place in the evening for an hour and a half each. These programs explain problem gambling and provide information on ways to change. Family and loved ones may attend these nights as well.  Phase 2 involves 12 evening group treatment sessions that are around 2 hours long each, and these sessions are not open to family members. The group sessions try to slowly siphon off dependence on gambling instead of having the gambler go cold turkey. It focuses on cognitive, behavioural and emotional change in a caring and nurturing environment.

The Family Member Program includes phase one of the Problem Gambling Program, along with ongoing weekly group sessions and counselling for family members. Family members are also able to avail of crisis counselling services in the case of an emergency, and can be given referrals to other gambling addiction treatment centres in case additional services are required.

Rideauwood also offers family counselling and couples consultation services. They can be reached at www.rideauwood.org.

Serenity Renewal for Families, Ontario

Serenity Renewal is a registered charity that offers counselling services to individuals and families in Ottawa that have been affected by addiction issues. Its program includes one on one counselling, workshops, support groups, and a focus on improving life skills and relationships as well as emotional and spiritual growth.

The institute can be reached at info@serenityrenewal.ca, and can be found online at www.serenityrenewal.ca.

Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre, Ontario

Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre was founded in Ottawa as a service that would recognize the unique and special needs of women who were battling addiction problems. The treatment is outpatient and community-based, meaning that women are able to leave otherwise normal lives while going through the recovery process. The significance of community-based outpatient treatment is obvious – it is more difficult for women to consistently stick to a residential program if they have childcare and employment responsibilities.

Services include one-on-one counselling, group therapy and an Intensive Eight-Day Program. Treatment starts when the women are assessed by a counsellor to examine the role and nature of gambling in their lives. The assessment determines what services are the right fit for each individual woman.  Amethyst also offers a Relapse Prevention program, a mother/daughter relationship workshop and a sexual abuse support program.

The website can be found at http://amethyst-ottawa.org.

COSTI Immigrant Services, Toronto

COSTI is a community based multicultural agency in Toronto that aims to provide a wide range of services to immigrant, including employment, educational and social services. Under this purview, it also tackles the problem of gambling addiction as faced by immigrant communities. Its Problem Gambling Service takes cultural values and linguistic differences into account when offering prevention, education and treatment to gamblers from the Italian, Portuguese and Spanish communities. The program also targets Hindi, Korean, Polish, Punjabi, Sinhalese, Tagalog, Tamil, and Vietnamese speaking communities. The program employs a model of intervention that focuses on harm reduction and counselling to improve the gambler’s impulsive behaviours.

COSTI offers one-on-one and group counselling, as well as sessions for families. Counselling can also take place over the telephone. A psycho-social assessment takes place before treatment starts in order to ascertain how gambling has affected the mental well-being and interpersonal relationships of the client. Furthermore, if clients require a service not offered at COSTI, the institute issues referrals to an agency that can fulfil that need. COSTI also does outreach to the wider immigrant communities in order to increase awareness of gambling.

COSTI can be reached at gambling@camh.net.

If you or your loved one is suffering from gambling addiction, you can get help straight away from any of the above mentioned institutions and help them become better.