Inpatient treatment for pathological gambling addiction
Pathological gambling addiction as any other addiction needs the complex treatment which requires participation of the patient, his family members and medical professionals. Currently there is no single method that would guarantee full recovery for everybody. It is generally accepted that the results of pathological gambling addiction treatment is worse than the results of treatment of chemical addiction (drug addiction, alcoholism). Partially it can be explained by the absence of effective pharmacological blockade to prevent relapse. Intolerance to alcohol can be created by disulfiram, when a sip of any alcohol beverage causes painful reaction, making alcohol consumption impossible for the duration of the blockade. There is no vaccine nor implant to ban a player to visit a casino, to take cards in the hands or to play poker online. The main goal of treatment is to erase the maniac desire to be in a state of gambling trance, to help an addict to regain control over his emotions and behavior, to stabilize his mental state: to normalize sleep, to remove nervousness, irritability, mood swings.
Gambling addiction treatment methods in our clinic
In gambling addiction treatment, regular visits to a psychologist or psychiatrist, heart to heart talks, use of tranquilizers or antidepressants usually are unproductive. As a rule, the gambler understands the destructiveness of his behavior. He does not need further explanations. He is constantly facing the consequences of a gambling binge. He sincerely repents, but he can not change the situation because of the fact that the process has long been out of control and personality, mind, volitional mechanisms are deeply and negatively changed. Special techniques are needed to regain a power to reverse the situation drastically, rather than useless digging into the past in search for ephemeral causes of addiction. Here are the basic methods that we use in psycho-correction programs and which bring the real positive results:
Information therapy unique method of gambling treatment
This unique method of gambling addiction treatment is a combination of pharmacotherapy and the newest computer technologies. The point of the procedure is to deliver special information in form of encoded audio and video signals into the brain of an addict to erase off obsessive thoughts, craving for gambling. The patient is put into a medical sleep for a few hours. In a state of sleep the brain perceives information much more efficiently due to absence of censorship of consciousness in kind of thoughts such as "I know myself better. All that is nonsense. Nothing can really help me”, and etc. The high frequency signals are transmitted into the brain by computer through special glasses and headphones.
Information is divided into a set of short vivid images that are at the subconscious level quickly form a new association of pernicious, disgusting gambling, forming a negative attitude to atmosphere of casino and gambling rituals. The methodology is based on the doctrine of higher nervous activity, reflection, reinforcement systems, neuro-linguistic programming.
More information about that method can be read here:
After an intensive information refinement the intensity of desire for gambling plummets. Patients say "game does not fall on memory any more", "I can concentrate on something unrelated to game”, "there is a peace of mind”, "my brain is resting", "erased memory", "I don’t remember that passion, that gambling drive".
Therapy aimed for stabilization of endorphin system
Deficit of natural "pleasure" hormones due to huge spending them in a process of gambling eventually results in a situation when the process of gambling is getting more important than a result. An obsessive gambler is constantly looking for a struggle, fight, competition. Even during the win celebration, he is already making plans for tomorrow`s race. It is out of nature of drug addiction to use narcotics once and then forget about them. Drug user is constantly striving to be under the influence of narcotics. The same the obsessive gambler can not be satisfied with occasional visits to casino. He constantly needs to keep the endorphins whipped up. He needs the process to be in a state of a gambling trance. N.E.T. (Neuro Electric Therapy) technique has been shown effective in normalizing the balance of endorphins in the brain and thus it is effective to reduce significantly level of craving for drugs or gambling.
With the help of the apparatus. The restored balance of endorphins manifests in the form of improved mood, cognitive functions, decreased irritability, reduced need for medications. Therapy is widely used for addiction treatment in Switzerland, UK and Israel.
Gambling addiction treatment hypnotherapy and mental blockade
Is a procedure with the elements of hypnosis. The patient is introduced into a state of trance for a short period of time (approx 30min), during which he sees in form of dreams pictures, fragments of the most important events from the past, some patterns from the childhood, images of people, events that have strongly influenced his previous life. At these moments, the patient rapidly and emotionally re-lives his errors, sees the dramatic consequences related to gambling. Many patients feel kind of catharsis, inner clarification, they cry and say that after that kind of experience nothing will make them come back to gambling.
Pharmacological treatments in pathological gambling
In the form of pharmacotherapy is a combination of medications aimed to perpetuate the result of the treatment and protect the psyche of convalescent from the stress. One of our main principles in choosing the therapy is to avoid medicines that can be addictive. Prescribed medications is only a temporary measure. They are not addictive so they are unable to cause a withdrawal. Psychotherapy with active participation of the patient is a powerful tool that may change patient`s life totally, to help him to leave gambling, debts, deception in the past for good. Psychotherapy is not only the talks with a psychiatrist or a special educator, but also the creation of psychological anti-relapse mechanisms, behavioral therapy, character-drama, holotropic breathwork.
Phase of maintenance the results
The phase lasts 12 months and includes regular monthly check-ups. In case of emergency the patient contacts the clinic or comes to clinic at any time without waiting for a regular appointment.
The results of gambling treatment program
The gambling treatment program is proposed individually after consultation and psychological examination. At the end of the treatment, the patient writes a report where he expresses his opinion about treatment. He indicates symptoms which have passed and which are still on, for how much he is confident in himself and what are his plans for the future. Objectively, the results of gambling treatment program are assessed with the help of psychometric scales and tests. After discharge, the results are fixed and supported by maintenance therapy and regular check-ups.
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