Gambling Addiction: Interview with Dr. Robert Perkinson

Dr. Robert R. Perkinson is the clinical director of Keystone Treatment Center. He specializes in gambling addiction treatment, as well as alcoholism treatment, drug treatment, and teen drug treatment. Dr. Perkinson has been treating addicts for over 30 years and has written the leading treatment manual for addiction counselors, as well as several other books on addiction.

Dr. Perkinson recently answered a few questions for LoveToKnow readers in regards to gambling addiction. We hope his expertise can help you learn more about this rising problem and the different treatment options that are available.

Gambling Addiction Interview

What is gambling addiction?

Pathological Gambling is gambling that a person can't stop.

Is gambling as serious as a drug or alcohol addiction?

Yes, with higher suicide rates with pathological gamblers and their family members.

What are some of the signs of gambling addiction?

  • The gambler can't stop gambling even after multiple attempts to quit.
  • The gambler feels bad or guilty about his or her gambling.
  • The gambler breaks the law to continue gambling.
  • Gambling becomes the major focus in the person's life.

Can children or teenagers develop a gambling addiction?

Yes, about 4-7% of teenagers are gamblers and the gambling seems to get out of control faster in adolescents with an immature brain.

How can someone overcome a gambling addiction?

  • About 4% of gamblers quit on their own with a major life change and a huge struggle.
  • Approximately 50% of gamblers quit after treatment.
  • Around 70% of gamblers quit with treatment and going to Gamblers Anonymous meetings.
  • And 90% of gamblers quit by going through treatment, attending meetings, and going to aftercare for one year.

If you think you know someone who has a gambling addiction, should you try to intervene?

Yes. The best way to learn about intervention is to read the book Love First by Jeff and Debra Jay. Intervention works 60-80% of the time and often saves the gambler from death or the family from destruction.

Are there any additional resources that problem gamblers can utilize to overcome their addiction?

Call the Gamblers Hotline at 1-800-522-4700. This is a good place to start.

Online Gambling Addiction

Although, we didn't touch on the subject of online gambling addiction during the interview, it is important to note that this form of gambling addiction is becoming a growing epidemic. Online gambling addiction can also affect both teens and adults, and is often considered more dangerous than a regular gambling addiction because online gambling sites are so readily available.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an online gambling addiction, you should apply the advice received from Dr. Perkinson in this interview. This means recognizing that the problem exists and seeking out the help you need to recover.

Gambling Addiction Resources

Gambling Addiction: Interview with Dr. Robert Perkinson