ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 20th March 2017, 06:19 PM   #1
angrysoba
Philosophile
 
angrysoba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Osaka, Japan
Posts: 21,372
What are the most effective treatments for gambling addiction?

A family relative has a gambling addiction (not me!), which is causing a lot of trouble. The relative in question has essentially used all of his money and has resorted to borrowing from high interest lenders.

I have only recently heard the extent of this, and so I thought I would start researching the most effective forms of treatment.

I suppose the main candidates are drugs, therapy and/or some kind of twelve-step program - although I realize there is an overlap here.

His mother wants him to go on a twelve-step program at some live-in institution far from here. It sounds exorbitantly expensive and my own understanding is that there is very little evidence for the effectiveness of such programs. In fact, all the rationales for her decision about this trigger my "skeptisensors" - for example, she phoned different centres and chose the one whose understanding of gambling addiction best met hers (i.e. confirmation bias), the person on the phone who she spoke to said it had helped him (i.e. anecdotal evidence and/or possibly snake oil salesmanship).

However, while I have to admit to having biases of my own (GA uses a lot of God talk - bleurghhh!), I am willing to listen to evidence in its favour if it doe s have any, although my own take is that the best that can be said of the plan is a cut-your-losses strategy - while he is there he cannot gamble and it may actually be cheaper than letting him do the latter.

When I have done research into addictions, I have come across a couple of other interventions such as naltrexone - which is usually used for alcohol or drug addiction but may also be able to prevent reward stimulus for gambling. Are there any other drugs available for gambling which are proven to be effective?

Also, there is cognitive behavioural therapy which could presumably also be used in treating gambling addiction.

Any other ideas anyone has would be appreciated.

Cheers!
__________________
"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
angrysoba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2017, 04:19 AM   #2
The Norseman
Meandering fecklessly
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 6,359
SMART Recovery, hands down. http://www.smartrecovery.org/

It stands for “Self-Management for Addiction Recovery” and is based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Every group is facilitated by a certified group facilitator (each one going through a training program and only authorized facilitators can chair SMART meetings).

The website is full of lots of great information, downloadable in .pdf format, and if there are no local meetings in your relative’s area, meetings are held online as well.


The cool thing about SMART is that they do not undermine the person’s level of ‘sobriety’ (or whatever addiction you’re wanting to talk about) nor do they treat slips or relapses as anything other than learning experiences. IOW, you get to decide what level of sobriety you are comfortable with and the facilitators will work with the person on that (they all should at any rate). For example, if a person wants to experiment with controlled drinking, thinking that complete abstinence isn’t right for her, than there’s no pressure to conform to absolute abstinence. Perhaps for most people, complete abstinence is the best way to deal with it, but for many, it isn’t. In this way, the program dispenses with the “one true way” kind of thought and also discards the whole “you’re an alcoholic/no you aren’t/maybe” nonsense that serves to pigeon-hole rather than clarify.

There are other benefits to the program, but that’s a good start. It certainly blows out of the water the garbage that Alcoholics Anonymous vomits up, that’s for sure. There’s no comparison.

SMART Recovery does not proselytize and is non-religious.

They have workbooks available as well, I almost forgot to mention, along with charts and tables and informative pamphlets and exercises a person can write as well, depending on how much effort they wish to put into it.

Two things to keep in mind: have your relative get out and meet with people; start a hobby and whatever. The second thing is that for many people, it may take many tries to succeed, so pass on the info to never give up.



ETA: My browser crashed writing the first message and I'm coming into the morning of a sleepless night, so forgive the rambling nature of this post!

Last edited by The Norseman; 21st March 2017 at 04:21 AM.
The Norseman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2017, 04:27 AM   #3
The Norseman
Meandering fecklessly
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 6,359
Oops, my apologies. I missed the part of your post on naltrexone.

I have not personally read of any studies which discuss naltrexone and other than opiates, but if your relative can get the prescription for it and/or otherwise qualify, then from the successes I've read about naltrexone in general, it's worth a try. I'd really go with what the doctor says, but personally, if it were me, I'd try it for a good six months before deciding.
The Norseman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2017, 09:10 AM   #4
angrysoba
Philosophile
 
angrysoba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Osaka, Japan
Posts: 21,372
Thanks very much for the suggestions.

I had a look at the linked website and it looks interesting. The only problem is that the centres appear to be limited to the US, UK and Australia. I suppose a lot of these methods would be slow to come to Japan, and in this case the language would need to be in Japanese. I did some research to find out that CBT is somewhat known in this country, so I will see if something similar exists.

As for naltrexone, I am not even sure if this is available in Japan either, but again something similar might be.

Cheers again.
__________________
"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
angrysoba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2017, 10:59 AM   #5
The Norseman
Meandering fecklessly
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 6,359
Yeah, I hope others come along and have some suggestions too. I had noticed that you're location is listed as Osaka, but I didn't want to presume that your relative lives in the same city or country as you.

Is gambling considered an issue in Japan by the Japanese in general? I'm just curious, but for example as with alcohol and Russia, it's more of a compounded problem due to the Russian view of alcohol and masculinity; treatment is harder. How do Japanese view mental health and addiction, in your perception, I guess is the root of my question.
The Norseman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2017, 03:47 PM   #6
angrysoba
Philosophile
 
angrysoba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Osaka, Japan
Posts: 21,372
Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
Yeah, I hope others come along and have some suggestions too. I had noticed that you're location is listed as Osaka, but I didn't want to presume that your relative lives in the same city or country as you.

Is gambling considered an issue in Japan by the Japanese in general? I'm just curious, but for example as with alcohol and Russia, it's more of a compounded problem due to the Russian view of alcohol and masculinity; treatment is harder. How do Japanese view mental health and addiction, in your perception, I guess is the root of my question.
Gambling is actually heavily restricted in Japan. There are no casinos for example. The main legal gambling activities are horse or boat racing, or pachinko. Pachinko is in a legal grey zone and is a kind of hybrid of pinball and slot machines. You play to win steel balls which you can exchange for gifts which you can then take to some kind of booth where someone will buy the gifts. This way there is no direct exchange of money.

Good question about perception. I don't really know. Maybe it is considered a hobby for grandad types. At least when it comes to weekly horse racing. Pachinko parlours, on the other hand are noisy smoky environments that exist in every town yet is somehow considered a bit of a fringe activity. Pachinko parlours are probably the most visible building in any town and yet somehow not visible.
__________________
"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
angrysoba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2017, 08:01 PM   #7
The Norseman
Meandering fecklessly
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 6,359
Interesting. I knew somewhat about the popularity of the pachinko parlors in China, but I never knew about how popular they are in Japan.

I sure wish I could offer more resources.

I dunno if this is germane, but do you know if the amount of money gambled is considered a part of the thrill or is it more of a case that the money is simply of secondary importance and the thrill springs from the activity itself?

The reason I ask is that if betting the equivalent of pennies would bring the same thrill; try to at least mitigate the negative impact on the finances, essentially. Some people find that the kick is much greater when there's more money on the line and I'd think then that quick action is much more imperative in order to keep from hemorrhaging money all over the place.

So... bump for the evening crowd!

Oh, ETA: Does he/she feel that he/she has a problem or is it more like family taking notice and sensing a reason for urgency?

Last edited by The Norseman; 21st March 2017 at 08:02 PM.
The Norseman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd March 2017, 02:35 AM   #8
angrysoba
Philosophile
 
angrysoba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Osaka, Japan
Posts: 21,372
Thanks. I don't really know if the amount is part of the thrill, or if he gambles in order to get rich or "win back his losses".

It was discovered by his mother looking at his accounts after he failed to pay rent for a number of months. In the past she had quietly paid off his debts and thought it wouldn't happen again and that he had learnt his lesson.

Crazily he continues gambling seemingly oblivious and ungrateful for his mother's previous bailout and believing that there is nothing wrong. This will certainly be an obstacle to his recovery.
__________________
"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
angrysoba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd March 2017, 10:20 AM   #9
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 38,214
Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
SMART Recovery, hands down. http://www.smartrecovery.org/

It stands for “Self-Management for Addiction Recovery” and is based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Every group is facilitated by a certified group facilitator (each one going through a training program and only authorized facilitators can chair SMART meetings).
Cool!
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd March 2017, 10:24 AM   #10
Argumemnon
World Maker
 
Argumemnon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: In the thick of things
Posts: 59,806
Bankruptcy.
__________________
"What is best in life?"
Argumemnon is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd March 2017, 08:33 PM   #11
The Norseman
Meandering fecklessly
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 6,359
Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Thanks. I don't really know if the amount is part of the thrill, or if he gambles in order to get rich or "win back his losses".

It was discovered by his mother looking at his accounts after he failed to pay rent for a number of months. In the past she had quietly paid off his debts and thought it wouldn't happen again and that he had learnt his lesson.

Crazily he continues gambling seemingly oblivious and ungrateful for his mother's previous bailout and believing that there is nothing wrong. This will certainly be an obstacle to his recovery.
I see. Thank you for being so open about this, by the way. It might also be useful for you to read up on specialists who can arrange for a family intervention. I've seen a few shows of a TV program which films families and addicts before, during, and after an intervention. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn't. If you do some research, you might be able to find a good therapist who can guide families through this process.

Self disclosure: I and my folks had attempted an intervention on my then-wife who was abusing pain medications (she was on a ton of stuff, it was amazing: Norco, Valium, and a bunch of others all unfortunately prescribed by one doc who should have known better). We had met with the counselor for ultimately six sessions before approaching her. She reluctantly agreed to go inpatient but lasted only two weeks (out of a four week stint) and I ended up filing for divorce. So in my case, it didn't work out at the time, but ultimately was the best move I could have made — for both of us.

If you distrust the whole idea of an intervention, that's fine. Or perhaps you wouldn't get much family support. The family has to pretty much be 100% behind it for it to work and for many families, they're comfortable enough in their roles that they would resist having do to some changes themselves.

I apologize if I come across as preachy. But hey, I feel your concern and good on you for wishing to help.
The Norseman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd March 2017, 08:41 PM   #12
The Norseman
Meandering fecklessly
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 6,359
Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Cool!
Oh, hell yeah! SMART Recovery is amazing. And more self-disclosure: I have signed up for the facilitator training; just waiting for the next session to come around.

If you're interested, I think it's like... fifty bucks? Something like that. You can also apply for essentially a hardship discount (I think they call it a scholarship) if the fee is too much.

Oh, and another reason I love SMART — for one thing, a facilitator is trained at not only listening but also teaching the materials during the groups (it's not just a bull session, but there are handouts and assignments and so on) plus, if a facilitator oversteps his or her bounds, they can be removed from the SMART organization and are no longer able to chair the meetings. Unlike AA, where if you get a predatory chairperson (for example) there's not much you can do about it except go to a different meeting. The AA organization will basically disavow having anything to do with their groups and I don't think that's right or ethical, most especially dealing with such a vulnerable population.
The Norseman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old Yesterday, 08:35 AM   #13
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 38,214
Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Thanks. I don't really know if the amount is part of the thrill, or if he gambles in order to get rich or "win back his losses".

It was discovered by his mother looking at his accounts after he failed to pay rent for a number of months. In the past she had quietly paid off his debts and thought it wouldn't happen again and that he had learnt his lesson.

Crazily he continues gambling seemingly oblivious and ungrateful for his mother's previous bailout and believing that there is nothing wrong. This will certainly be an obstacle to his recovery.
In addiction it is difficult to parse causes, which is why Trimpey for all his faults had the right idea with the Big Choice model.

The causes doesn't matter as much the decision to stop, which is a difficult personal choice. SMART sounds like a good deal to me in that it is based on CBT.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old Yesterday, 08:36 AM   #14
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 38,214
Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
Oh, hell yeah! SMART Recovery is amazing. And more self-disclosure: I have signed up for the facilitator training; just waiting for the next session to come around.

If you're interested, I think it's like... fifty bucks? Something like that. You can also apply for essentially a hardship discount (I think they call it a scholarship) if the fee is too much.

Oh, and another reason I love SMART — for one thing, a facilitator is trained at not only listening but also teaching the materials during the groups (it's not just a bull session, but there are handouts and assignments and so on) plus, if a facilitator oversteps his or her bounds, they can be removed from the SMART organization and are no longer able to chair the meetings. Unlike AA, where if you get a predatory chairperson (for example) there's not much you can do about it except go to a different meeting. The AA organization will basically disavow having anything to do with their groups and I don't think that's right or ethical, most especially dealing with such a vulnerable population.
Thank, I no longer work in socials services, so the impact on my life is reduced.

My own recovery has done well as the years have become decades, I can always dance with the devil but I take long proactive steps.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old Yesterday, 08:55 AM   #15
The Norseman
Meandering fecklessly
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 6,359
Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Thank, I no longer work in socials services, so the impact on my life is reduced.
I've always thought you've had a great perspective on mental health in the various ISkep (neé JREF) threads, btw.


Quote:
My own recovery has done well as the years have become decades, I can always dance with the devil but I take long proactive steps.
Oh, good on you!

I agree with you as well about Jack Trimpey (the founder of Rational Recovery, for those who don't know. SMART Recovery is a descendant of RR, after Trimpey wanted to monetize the RR program, and followers wished to make meetings and information essentially freely accessible similar to AA groups) and his Big Choice. It's again the complete opposite of Alcoholics Anonymous which preaches powerlessness and helplessness in their addiction* but RR/SMART both promote personal choice, giving one a sense of agency and control in one's life.













* Except the power of GOD will save you from yooouuurrssseellllffffffff!!
The Norseman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old Yesterday, 10:02 AM   #16
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 38,214
I always felt the twelve steps were for people who needed something to do while waiting for sobriety to take it's long term effects.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old Yesterday, 12:58 PM   #17
CORed
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Central City, Colorado, USA
Posts: 6,685
As someone who has been bitten fairly hard by the gambling bug, I can suggest another approach that has worked fairly well for me. Learn how to do it right. Though casinos are obviously not in business to give money awa (in spite of what there advertising would have you believe), there are a few opportunities to break even or eke out a small profit. Poker is perhaps one of the best, though it takes quite a bit of skill to do it well enough to win (casino poker games have a rake or time charge, which means that you have to be considerably better than average to make a profit). There is, of course, card counting in blackjack. Though if you play big enough to earn a living, you will probably get thrown out pretty quickly, casinos are pretty tolerant of smaller bettomg card counters. You won't make a lot of money that way, but you won't lose much either. Some video poker games will make a small profit when cashback, comps and promotions are milked properly, assuming of course, that you take the time to learn proper strategy.

If you learn the math behind gambling, you can satisfy the itch without putting yourself in the poorhouse, and maybe even make a little side income.

I'm not sure this approach will work for most truly addicted gamblers though, as it takes a fair amount of self-discipline, and the ability to say "no" to sucker games, which is the vast majority of what casinos have to offer.
CORed is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:09 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2014, TribeTech AB. All Rights Reserved.
This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.