Effective Gambling Addiction Treatment in Thailand

To many, gambling can be a fairly innocuous activity that offers a bit of fun and excitement. Winning money at the casino, at cards, in an online poker game, or by betting on sports can provide a pleasurable thrill. To many others, however, chasing that thrill becomes a compulsion that eventually spirals into full-blown addiction. It can devastate personal finances and tear apart families. If you’re seeing your life spiralling out of control due to your gambling, you may feel like you are trapped. But there’s always a way out. Quality help is available through gambling rehab programmes.

There are many gambling rehab centres in the West but finding the right one can be somewhat challenging. Public programmes often have extensive waiting lists and the best private rehabs are often highly expensive. A great alternative is to undergo gambling addiction rehab in Thailand, where world-class treatments are available at affordable prices.

From our state-of-the-art rehab facility in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, Hesten Hill Rehab offers comprehensive and holistic rehab for gambling. In a safe and supportive environment, surrounded by lush tropical scenery, our team of addiction experts will give you all the tools you need to overcome your addiction and set forth on a path of lasting wellness.


What is gambling addiction?

Gambling addiction – which is also called ‘problem gambling’ or ‘compulsive gambling’ – is a form of behavioural addiction (also known as process addiction). Addicts become unable to control the urge to gamble, even as it leads to severe financial and personal consequences. Many people view behavioural addictions, such as compulsive gambling, internet addiction, and obsessive craving for sex, as less serious than substance addictions. But the fact is, a gambling addiction can be just as devastating to your well-being as substance abuse.

Human brains are wired to reward risks with positive emotions. With bigger risks come bigger emotional rewards. A big win at the poker table will cause the brain to release dopamine and norepinephrine, leading to feelings of intense pleasure. Repeating this feeling over and over again causes gambling to become elevated to the level of a basic survival need.

Gambling addiction in the UK

Gambling is big business on a global scale. It’s estimated that 4.2 billion people gamble at least once a year. In the UK, where gambling is particularly prevalent, it’s estimated that 32% of the adult population gamble on a weekly basis. In 2018 alone, the gambling industry in the UK made £14.4 billion in revenue. Just a year earlier, record numbers of Brits were hospitalised due to their gambling addictions. This represented a 50% increase of such cases in just one year.

At what point does someone need a rehab for gambling?

While most casual gamblers are able to set loss limits for themselves and stick to them, problem gamblers feel compelled to keep gambling to recover their losses.

Signs and symptoms of gambling addiction

  • Feeling constantly preoccupied with gambling
  • Inability to cut back on gambling
  • Needing to bet increasingly larger sums of money to get the same feeling of enjoyment
  • Restlessness and irritability when not gambling
  • Gambling to escape personal problems or to numb feelings of depression or anxiety
  • Lying to friends and family about how much you gamble
  • Neglecting responsibilities to gamble
  • Asking others for money to support your gambling
  • Engaging in criminal activity to obtain gambling money
Gambling addicts playing cards

Gambling and co-occurring disorders

Like many other forms of addiction, problem gambling is usually caused by a number of underlying social, emotional, psychological, and environmental factors. Co-occurring conditions like anxiety and depression as well as untreated trauma lead people to gamble excessively as an escape from these problems.

Problem gambling and alcohol abuse have been found to be linked in numerous studies. Moreover, people who are in recovery for alcohol or drug abuse are at risk of cross addiction. This occurs when the recovering addict trades one addiction for another – alcohol for gambling, for example. The reward pathways are similarly activated by both activities, which means the addict can experience the same rush from gambling as they did from abusing alcohol. 

Research also suggests that depression and gambling often co-occur. Gambling can give a temporary thrill that reduces the symptoms of depression. In these cases, gambling acts as a form of self-medication, similar to drug or alcohol use. Conversely, gambling addicts often develop symptoms of depression due to the emotional and financial stresses caused by their behaviour.

Gambling addiction treatment options

Treatment options for gambling addiction include individual therapy, self-help groups, relationship counselling, 12-step programmes, and inpatient treatment.

While both outpatient and inpatient treatment programmes can be effective for treating gambling addiction, outpatient programmes can be somewhat less comprehensive as they tend to only focus on one specific treatment method.

Inpatient programmes involve living onsite at a gambling addiction rehab, where several different treatment modalities and methods are administered in conjunction with each other in the same setting. This holistic approach to treatment can give you a better chance at a full recovery.

Collection of 12 steps and CBT books

Why inpatient gambling rehab centres

Our inpatient gambling rehab programme will have you live at our rehab facility in Thailand for at least 30 days or longer. During this period, you will undergo full-time treatment, which involves medical care, individual therapy, group counselling sessions, mindfulness meditation, nutritional counselling, and a wide range of additional holistic activities, including offsite excursions.

Hesten Hill Rehab’s centre is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, which provides an idyllic setting for the start of your healing journey. Our holistic rehab programme takes care of everything, allowing you to focus on what matters most: your recovery.


The elements of our gambling addiction rehab

Behavioural therapy

Gambling addiction often stems from underlying psychological issues and untreated trauma. We will work closely with you to uncover those issues and treat them effectively. Through cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy, you will learn to identify the harmful patterns of thought that led to your gambling addiction.

You will then learn to replace those negative thoughts with beneficial thinking that leads to more positive behaviour. We will also guide you through eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) as well as trauma release exercises to help you cope with traumatic events from your past in a healthier manner.

The 12-step Minnesota model

The 12-step Minnesota model is so-named because it was originally popularised in Minnesota at the Hazelden Foundation – a world-renowned pioneer in the field of addiction treatment. The model views addiction as a chronic and progressive disease of the mind and body. This is equally true of gambling addicts as it is of drug or alcohol abusers.

The inability to control gambling is a symptom of the disease and not a personal or moral failing on the part of the addict. The 12-step model will teach you how to abstain from gambling, make amends to any loved ones you have harmed with your behaviour, and prepare to set forth on a healthier, more balanced path.

Mindfulness meditation

An essential component of our core treatment programme is mindfulness meditation. Learning to pay close attention to your thoughts and sensations as the arise, will give you yet another powerful tool to avoid gambling and other destructive behaviours.

Our location in Thailand, with its deep connection to Buddhism, also allows us to offer many interesting variations on standard mindfulness practice, including walking cup mediation, singing bowl mediation, candle-lit meditation, and monk-led chanting.

Post gambling rehab care

To ensure the progress you make with us is sustained and long-lasting, we will provide you with a comprehensive relapse prevention plan. We also offer regular group and individual online therapy sessions. This first few weeks after you have returned home are essential to your recovery, which is why we are committed to providing you with full support during this crucial time.

At our gambling addiction rehab, you will:

  • Receive individual therapy four times per week (the highest number of sessions offered at rehabs in Thailand).
  • Receive gambling addiction treatment alongside co-occurring conditions, such as depression or anxiety
  • Receive prescribed medication such as anti-depressants from our team of medical professionals
  • Be given personalised care from our team of addiction experts, including your personal recovery coach.
  • Participate in a wide range of holistic activities, including yoga, workouts with a personal trainer, and full spa treatments. 
  • Have the chance to see some of the Chiang Mai region’s most iconic tourist attractions and natural wonders during offsite excursions.

Cost of gambling rehab in Thailand

Even after factoring in travel expenses, our gambling rehab programme costs much less than similar programmes in the West. Hesten Hill Rehab’s fees cover everything you will need during your time with us, including all aspects of treatment, plush accommodations, delicious à la carte meals, holistic activities, and offsite excursions. For more information about prices, payment plans, and insurance coverage, please contact us directly.

Are you ready to begin your recovery journey?

Overcoming any addiction is no easy feat, but through our gambling rehab programme, you will be given all the tools you need to heal and begin a more fulfilling life free from the trappings of addiction. To speak with one of our addiction experts and see if gambling rehab in Thailand is right for you, contact us today.