If you've made the choice to seek help for your gambling, you've taken an important first step. Start by talking to your primary care doctor. If it seems that you have a serious problem, you'll likely be referred to a mental health provider for more evaluation and treatment.
What you can do
These suggestions can help you get the most from your appointments. Make a list of:
- All the feelings you're experiencing, even if they seem unrelated to your problem. Be sure to note what triggers your gambling, whether you've tried to resist the urge to gamble and the effect that gambling has had on your life.
- Key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- All medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements that you're taking, including the dosages.
Make a list of questions to ask your doctor, such as:
- What's the best approach to my gambling problem?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- Should I see a psychiatrist, psychologist, addiction counselor or other mental health provider? Will my insurance cover seeing a specialist?
- Can I get help as an outpatient or would I need to enter a residential treatment program?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask questions any time during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will likely ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them so you'll have time to go over any points you want to focus on. Your doctor may ask:
Feb. 12, 2014
- When did your gambling first start?
- How often do you gamble?
- Are your friends or family members worried about your gambling?
- When you gamble, how much do you typically put on the line?
- Have you tried to quit on your own? What happened when you did?
- Have you ever been treated for a gambling problem?
- Are you ready to get the treatment needed for your gambling problem?
- Gambling disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Aug. 26, 2013.
- Highlights of changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/changes%20from%20dsm-iv-tr%20to%20dsm-5.pdf. Accessed Aug. 26, 2013.
- Questions and answers about Gamblers Anonymous. Gamblers Anonymous. http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/content/questions-answers-about-gamblers-anonymous. Accessed Aug. 26, 2013.
- Unwin BK, et al. Pathologic gambling. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 26, 2013.
- Schneekloth TD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 2, 2013.