Success Rates of Overcoming Gambling Addiction


The psychiatric profession only began to recognize gambling addiction as a mental or psychological disorder in the 1980s. Since then researchers have explored a wide variety of treatment options, ranging from medications to social support groups. To date, no consensus exists on which treatment modality works best, or is most effecitve, for the greatest number of people.

There are inpatient programs for gambling addicts that focus on psycho-social issues as well as compulsion control methods in order to get a hold on the addiction. Other programs are based on cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Gamblers Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous programs focus on using the 12-step method to overcome a gambling addiction. Unfortunately for people seeking to learn of the success rates for gamblers anonymous, they don't exist. Why don't they exist? Because the organization is by definition anonymous, and they therefore do not have the traditional kinds of data or records that would support drawing an accurate conclusion about their success rates.

What little has been determined in the way of figuring out the success rates of overcoming a gambling addiction suggest that the relapse rates for gamblers are as high—actually in some cases slightly higher—as they are for drugs, alcohol and other forms of addiction. Notably, they hover around the 90 percent range, meaning nine out of every ten gambling addicts is expected to relapse within one year of undergoing treatment.

Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

Despite the medical community's recognition of gambling as a disease, it can be difficult for gamblers to find good, intensive inpatient care. This is problematic because the few studies that do exist on outpatient care for gamblers indicate that outpatient care has a relapse rate of something approaching 98 percent, and that inpatient care gives the gambler the best odds of overcoming his or her disease, even if the relapse rate in the first year following treatment is as high as it is believed to be.

One of the problems often cited with overcoming a gambling addiction is that gambling addicts may have to deal with the financial fall-out of their disease for years following treatment, something that very likely could cause them to relapse. It's one thing to make a mess of your life with drugs or alcohol, it's another to make a financial mess of your life with a gambling addiction and face years of trying to pay down debts—which could serve as daily reminders of one's disease.

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