international certified gambling counselor II
Help is available now by calling 404-985-6785. *Physicians and other health professionals. If you have been directed to the Georgia Council on Problem Gambling from either the 24-hour National Problem Gambling Hotline or other resource, you may call 404-985-6785. GCPG has assisted hundreds of gamblers. (The council president, Eric Groh as an International Certified Gambling Counselor -II, has completed 2000 hours of direct care under supervision to gamblers). The patient can call us from your office to schedule. If there is an imminently life threatening emergency, please facilitate psychiatric hospitalization and ask the family to contact us upon discharge.*
Gambling Disorder is a medical addiction as defined by the American Psychiatric Association. It is not a sign of weakness or a lack of self control. It is an addiction. Gambling addiction, also known as pathological gambling, compulsive gambling or gambling disorder is a persistent urge to bet despite negative consequences. Gamblers Anonymous - a 12 step group similar to alcoholics anonymous-- defines gambling as, "Any betting or wagering, for self or others, whether for money or not, no matter how slight or insignificant, where the outcome is uncertain or depends upon chance or skill constitutes gambling." Controlled gambling is not possible for the gambling addict. have helped hundreds of Georgia gamblers and I can help you--if you're goal is to stop all gambling. As a founder of the Georgia Council on Problem Gambling, representing the sixth largest state with a chapter of the National Council on Problem Gambling, our board of directors provide leadership to Georgia on all things gambling related. Treatment requires a specialized treatment protocol as it is quite different from other addictions:
The primary aim of psychotherapy for pathological gamblers is to achieve total abstinence from gambling. More specifically and more realistically, psychotherapies aim to minimize and identify ways to deal with risky situations, provide an outlet to address guilt/shame, and teach ways to deal with gambling urges and cravings. Treatment outcomes for pathological gamblers demonstrate that pathological gamblers respond to treatment and that many demonstrate benefits even if they are in treatment for short periods of time. There are several forms of psychotherapy that have been applied to treating gambling addiction including cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral therapies, and psychodynamic psychotherapy. I use a blend of cognitive and psychodynamic psychotherapy and case management. The gambling counselor is the central point for coordinating care with all others involved in the gamblers treatment and recovery.
Formed from the model of Alcoholics Anonymous, GA is widely available in most states and internationally; there are over 1,000 GA chapters in the United States. GA was created in 1957 in Los Angeles, and the meetings follow the 12-step self-help model. The twelve steps are identical to those utilized for substance abuse, except that gambling replaces alcohol or drugs. Meetings are either open or closed and can be found through Internet and phone directories; they are free to members and are available seven days a week in many urban cities. The treatment philosophy of GA is similar to that of other addictive self-help groups—in order to recover, one must “work the steps,” which include gaining a sponsor, completing the 12 steps outside of the meetings, and gaining emotional support and strength by a peer support group.
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Many people struggling with addiction not only respond well to faith-based recovery, but they enjoy it more. It is an alternative to 12-Step Gamblers Anonymous. There is an extensive network of Celebrate Recovery meetings for Georgia Gamblers. Celebrate Recovery is composed of prayer meetings, support groups and usually an evening meal and church service. You do not need to be Christian to attend these meetings. They are very warm and welcoming. If you are faith-inclined person, you may want to check out the list of Celebrate Recovery Meetings in Georgia. They accept all addictions-- alcohol, drug, gambling, and sexual addiction.
Medication for depression or other mood disorders can be very helpful for a gambler's recovery. Medication can not only treat suicidal thoughts, but elevates mood, increases anxiety and can reduce craves that trigger relapse of gambling addiction. I work with several Atlanta and Georgia doctors and psychiatrists who can you assist with a medication evaluation so i can help you coordinate that. Sometimes a family doctor, gynecologist or internist can also treat depression associated with compulsive gambling. By increasing overall mental function and performance, medication can also facilitate your progress in psychotherapy.
There are several objectives in family counseling including family education, connecting with support services and implementing psychotherapeutic interventions to reduce conflict. It is best to involve family early in gambling addiction treatment planning, but this is ultimately a decision of the gambler. A period of time alone in individual counseling is sometimes best as the gambler begins to understand their addiction and convey this to family in an appropriate manner.
Treatment planning includes addressing financial problems that have been a result of gambling addiction. Problems such as debt, bankruptcy and financial ruin. The psychological damage to gamblers and their families can be significant. You and your counselor should develop plans for limiting access to funds and help your family cope with feelings of betrayal.
In summary, planning differs as each person and situation is unique. Please contact me at 404-985-6785 to discuss your situation and schedule an appointment for an initial evaluation.