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
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
- 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.
Return from Mental Health Intervention to Addiction Intervention
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