Center for Problem Gambling
Bedford VA Medical Center
Melinda Salomon, Ph.D., Christopher Krebs, M.A., Charles Drebing, Ph.D.
Who are we?
We are a group of experienced clinicians who specialize in problem gambling treatment, education, and research.
Who is the Center for Problem Gambling for?
We are dedicated to working closely with veterans who have gambling problems and with their families. We also work with many veterans who don't believe they have a gambling problem, but who would like to gamble less than they currently do or want to stop altogether.
If you know you have a gambling problem or are worried about your gambling, we invite you to call us or e-mail us to discuss your situation in confidence. We will listen, provide you with information, and help you to make a decision about next steps you might take.
Problem gambling is widespread; approximately 1.5% or over four million Americans are problem gamblers. Yet people rarely report gambling problems; moreover, the disorder is rarely identified or diagnosed by medical or mental health professionals. This leads to enormous costs for individuals and their families. It's never to late to seek treatment for problem gambling. But the earlier veterans with gambling problems seek treatment, the better their chances to change or eliminate the problem.
All veterans are eligible for treatment at the Center. If, after contacting us, you decide to seek treatment, you will be invited for an initial session to further explore the issue and see if treatment is something you want to pursue. The same approach is used for veterans referred by Bedford VA Medical Center clinicians or by clinicians outside of the medical center.
Treatment for Problem Gambling is multi-faceted and begins with a thorough assessment. We review with you your personal history and any history of other medical or psychiatric conditions you may have (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance abuse, neuropsychological difficulties, etc.). We discuss your family and friendship networks, your work and financial circumstances, sources of stress in your life, and the reasons for your gambling (such as the environmental triggers for your gambling and the satisfactions or relief you may gain from gambling). From this comprehensive assessment, treatment is planned in collaboration with you.
Our goal is to provide individual and group treatment which is custom-designed to meet your needs and goals. In practice, treatment is targeted not only at problem gambling, but also at other aspects of your life which may exacerbate the problem gambling or may be adversely impacted by your gambling. For example, other medical and psychiatric conditions, your family situation, as well as financial and employment problems may be affected by your gambling. To address these problems, you may be referred to specialists elsewhere in the Medical Center. For example, for skills training in anger management, anxiety management, interpersonal skills, or problem solving skills, you would be referred to our Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Center. The specific motivations that propel you to gamble will be addressed in individual treatment.
Education and Research
The Center for Problem Gambling conducts education and research programs in coordination with the Bedford VA's Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC). Education and research is focused in several areas such as
We are also always interested in collaborating with researchers from other institutions in the development of new research projects in the problem gambling field.