Problem Gambling Program
Meridian offers specialized treatment services designed to help adults overcome the effects of problem gambling on their lives. Services include consultation; assessment; individual, group and family counseling; financial planning and budgeting; and relapse prevention. Free consultations are available for individuals and/or families.
Programs and Services
Intake and Assessment
A personal assessment and intake session is scheduled at the time of screening to facilitate rapid response to family, financial and mental health needs. We assess the individual’s gambling symptoms and solicit input from family and significant others.
Individual and Family Counseling
Family and significant others are encouraged to be involved in treatment. Information is provided on the disease of addiction and how the family can be of support in the recovery process. The initial focus is on money protection and pressure relief
Group and Individual Outpatient Treatment
Group and individual sessions are scheduled weekly. Groups focus on support and sharing of personal recovery issues. Individual sessions deal with understanding the disease of gambling addiction and recovery.
Initially, a family member or trusted person is identified to protect the money and take finances out of the gambler’s hands. Each family is asked to identify gambling losses and debt, and is asked to track monthly spending as well as income sources. A credit report is suggested to verify consumer debt. From this information, a sample budget is formed and restitution options identified.
It is vital that the family be involved in the money protection and budgeting process. A professional financial planner or advisor, or additional support through Gamblers Anonymous, are recommended in most cases.
Continued group and family sessions provide extended support and the opportunity to process relapse triggers and safety plans. It is recommended that each member be involved in a community-based support group such as Gamblers Anonymous or a spiritual or personal growth fellowship.
Common Questions and Answers
How do I know if I have a problem?
If you answer “Yes” to any of the next three questions, it is possible you have a gambling problem:
- Are you restless and irritable if you try to stop gambling?
- Have you tried to keep family and friends from knowing how much you gamble?
- Have you had such financial difficulties because of gambling that you had to get help with living expenses from family or friends?
I have no money for treatment. What is the charge?
The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and The Ohio Lottery provide funds to help accommodate those who might not be able to pay.
What if the gambler in the family refuses treatment or denies the problem?
Many times the family member needs extra attention to help cope with the gambling issue. Consultation is available to the family, employer or significant others even if the gambler refuses help.
Should I file bankruptcy?
Generally bankruptcy is a last resort. The gambler needs to make responsible restitution to everyone involved, including family. Gamblers Anonymous has pressure-relief services to help in difficult situations, and there are many reputable financial consultants who can help work out payback terms for a fee.