Preparing for your appointment

If you've decided to seek help for compulsive gambling, you've taken an important first step.

What you can do

Before your appointment make a list of:

  • All the feelings you're experiencing, even if they seem unrelated to your problem. 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 doses.
  • Other physical or mental health disorders that you have and the treatments.
  • Questions to ask your doctor to make the most of your appointment time.

Questions to ask your doctor may include:

  • 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 professional?
  • Will my insurance cover seeing these professionals?
  • Can I get help as an outpatient or would I need inpatient treatment?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have?
  • What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask any other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor will likely ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did your gambling first start?
  • How often do you gamble?
  • How has gambling affected your life?
  • 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?
Oct. 22, 2016
References
  1. Gambling disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Sept. 17, 2016.
  2. Domino FJ. Overview of gambling disorder. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 17, 2016.
  3. What is gambling disorder? American Psychiatric Association. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/gambling-disorder/what-is-gambling-disorder. Accessed Sept. 17, 2016.
  4. Help and treatment: Choosing a treatment facility. National Council on Problem Gambling. http://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/choosing-a-treatment-facility/. Accessed Sept. 29, 2016.
  5. Hennessy G. Can medications help people with gambling disorder? Psychiatric News. http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2016.PP4a1. Accessed Sept. 17, 2016.
  6. Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 29, 2016.