Mental Health Intervention
- Next Steps

Determining whether to proceed with a mental health intervention for a loved one who is struggling with a gambling addiction is a very difficult and even stressful task.  Is it appropriate for your situation?  Is it the right time to do it?  Will it makes things better or worse?  To read the introductory part of this discussion, please read the Addiction Intervention page where you'll learn more about what is a family intervention.  Here we'll focus on the next steps regarding what you can expect in terms of planning and the day of.  The objective is to get you more familiar and comfortable with what the process generally entails to both help you in making a decision, as well as to arm you with background for when you interview interventionists should you decide to proceed.


What are the next steps?
Once you've determined that a mental health intervention for a loved one's gambling addiction is even a possible option for you, you'll want to consider the following:

Where do I start?  There are two general approaches:
 
1.  Find a facility first - With this approach, you do research regarding what facility (i.e. gambling addiction treatment center) best meets the needs of your loved one.  It's highly recommended that you find somewhere that has direct experience with gambling addiction, and even a dedicate program.  It's not uncommon for a facility to tell you that they treat all addictions and simply lump gambling in.  Most gambling addiction professionals will agree that someone with extensive experience treating alcohol or drug addicts (for example) can't be automatically concluded to be experts in gambling addiction.  The easiest place to start looking (aside from an Internet search) is to use your healthcare provider's online search tools, or by calling them (if you have healthcare coverage).  If you don't have coverage, having a friend or relative call their provider can be helpful as a starting point to at least get you on the right track.

Then call each  facility and let them know that you have a loved one who has a gambling addiction, and you're interested in talking with an interventionist in their gambling department.  If they tell you they don't have anyone who specializes in gambling, take that as a warning sign that they may not be qualified.  When you do talk with someone, you should expect to tell them your story, which will help them validate that an intervention may be appropriate.  It will also give you a chance to get a feel for them, and ask questions regarding their experience and success rate.  Success at this point would be getting your loved one to agree to go to treatment.


2.  Find an interventionist that's not affiliated with a specific facility - There are interventionists who do not work for a particular treatment center.  All they do is interventions.  They will have experience with numerous (likely dozens) of treatment centers across the country.  With this approach, you can expect to spend some time working with the interventionist to help them understand the specific ailments of your loved one.  Remember that gambling is not their problem, but rather a symptom of their problem(s).  The chances are highly likely that they're struggling with something else, and using gambling as a form of escapism.  Read the Help With Gambling Addiction section on therapy for more background on this topic.  The take home point here is that the treatment center should match their underlying ailment, and offer treatment for those issues, which are at the heart of the gambling addiction problem.  That's really why this is being referred to as a mental health intervention.

The benefit of this approach is that you can have an expert help you in evaluating different treatment centers, which you would otherwise have to do on your own with the first approach.  The benefit of the first approach, however, is that you become intimately familiar with the specific treatment program, and gain a comfort with the actual people who run the programs.  I recommend interviewing people from both types of approaches when considering a mental health intervention for gambling addiction.

Page 3 - Crisis Intervention Strategies
(How does an intervention work?)

Return from Mental Health Intervention to Addiction Intervention


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