At Clínicas CITA we know that the treatment of gambling begins with the recognition of the problem. Many times the person affected by gambling refuses to accept that he is sick or that he needs to undergo treatment in a gambling center to stop gambling and face the problem.


In most cases, the treatment for gambling is started, more because of the pressure exerted by the environment than because the patient has really accepted the need for treatment. However, this step of acceptance of gambling addiction is essential.

It is from the moment in which the patient becomes fully aware of his actions and the consequences of them that the cessation process begins.

The problem of gambling is a growing reality today, largely because new technologies have complicated this problem by providing new and stimulating gaming environments to which users have permanent access.

Online gambling addiction has been included in DSM V (the reference manual for psychological illnesses) as an independent pathology. Today, with a smartphone, gambling is no longer an activity exclusive to certain places (slots, casinos, bookmakers).

There are frequent cases in which they do not know how to overcome gambling, and it is complicated by the consumption of substances that the individual has gone through to try to cope with the psychological pressure caused by their addiction.

In other cases, it is the addiction to a substance that has predisposed the individual to indiscriminate and impulsive gambling.

At CITA we are experts in the treatment of all types of addictions, recognized as a leading addiction center in Europe where we offer help for gamblers.

The player can access any of the hundreds of online games and bets that proliferate on the net from anywhere and at any time.

The CITA working method to treat gambling is to develop an individualized plan for each patient that allows us to establish a treatment program adapted to each individual.

CITA has more than seventy professionals for the treatment of addictions, including psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists … and is one of the reference centers in Spain and Europe in the field of dependencies.



    Gambling addiction is born from a disorder with gambling, gambling and slots above all. The disorder that involves addicts to gambling and gambling is identified as Gambling.

    Gambling is defined as a disease, since gambling addiction comes from a disorder that affects life, both socially, personally and at work. When one suffers from gambling, the capacity for self-control is affected and it is difficult for them to say ‘No’, thus being unable to stop the urge or desire to play.

    When the game is part of the day to day, and is given more and more importance, the problem of being addicted to the game begins. It is becoming easier to access the betting markets, either from a mobile phone or from a tablet or PC, and physical presence is not required, so there are also more and more people with this disease.

    Although the casinos and betting houses have been forced to delimit a little more the barriers to entry to the game, either through the law or the age of majority. Currently, gambling addiction affects the lives of many families and that is why at the Center for Research and Treatment of Addictions (CITA), we carry out effective treatments to cure gambling.

    Stopping being addicted can be easier when you put yourself in the hands of an addiction specialist and start treatment at a help center for gambling addicts. Trying to help a sick addict by means of prohibitions and disorders in the day to day does not usually help at all.

    Treating this problem from a psychological point of view with the correct gambling treatments and with the appropriate and individualized guidelines, has a positive impact on the change in attitude of the patient suffering from gambling addiction.


    Detecting gambling is not an easy task because unlike other addictions, the gambler should not use drugs and have clear visible signs. Although gambling problems can develop addictions to other drugs as a result of the mental disorder that they cannot get out of without help.

    The truth is that gambling is a growing reality in today’s world. New forms of gambling have created new forms of addiction. In addition, the exposure in advertising is increasing and the possibility of playing is increasingly early.

    At the onset of the disease, the pathological player suffers from an uncontrolled impulse and an irrepressible “need” to play. During this phase, almost no gambler is able to recognize that he has lost control.

    During this phase, a first “win phase” is observed, in which the player wins money or a prize either unexpectedly or also sought. The player mistakenly understands that winnings have a high frequency and a low possibility of losses, but this is not the case.

    The next phase is identified as the “loss phase”, which, as the name suggests, the player begins to frequent and get used to gaming spaces and the player-losses link begins to be created.

    In this phase, the player persists in playing the game as an attempt to recover what was lost. Subsequently, you begin to lose consciousness and betting limits.

    It also gradually comes to gambling alone, accompanied by lies and large losses of money or material goods.

    As a consequence, the gambler will enter the so-called “despair phase”. In this phase, drastic changes are observed in the player’s behavior, such as consumption of alcohol or other substances as a result of the bad feeling after losing.

    Also serious deterioration of relationships, desperate or criminal search for money, and legal complications that are the prelude to completed and unexpected suicide attempts.

    At CITA Clinics we are a rehabilitation center for compulsive gamblers and we offer help for gambling addicts. We use the most advanced treatments for the cessation and recovery of the patient.

    Among other things, we pay great attention to personalized treatment, since the circumstances of each patient have a decisive influence on the suitability of the treatment. Our network of centers specialized in gambling rehabilitation allows us to treat the patient in the most appropriate setting and provide him with the individualized treatment he needs.


    Exposure to gambling can increase the risk of gambling, and limiting it can be helpful for people who are at risk. However, public exposure to gambling continues to increase in the form of lotteries, electronic gambling, and via the internet and casinos. Intervention at the first signs of gambling can prevent the worsening of this disorder.


    6 main symptoms can be classified that allow to identify a pathological gambler or gambler:

    1) Irritability: The compulsive gambler is generally easily irritated and expresses his aggression verbally or physically. Commonly reflects bad mood and does not control his impulses, he is rude.

    2) Anxiety: Because losing or winning becomes a concern for the gambler, in this (a) emotional restlessness occurs, notably affecting the state of mind, discouraging concentration on truly relevant things such as work, family, projects, health, etc. and robbing him of a great mental energy producing an emotional charge and consequently leading the person to depression.

    3) Lies: Driven by the disease, the gambler will lie in an effort not to discover the amount of money he uses in gambling or gambling, turning lying into a habit with the potential risk of developing a disorder of the personality.

    4) Play hide-and-seek: The gambler will satiate his addiction secretly and will resort to disappearing during his hours of play. Playing without anyone in his family knowing is your chance to satisfy his addiction for several hours, until he loses everything.

    5) Lend money: Asking for money is an easy resource when you are not aware of the problem. For the gambler, it is a good idea to lend money to a relative or acquaintance in order to spend it in the game, thus looking at his own interest without weighing the consequences. In the mind of the addict, the disorder does not make him consider the situation or possibility that he will lose that money.

    6) Obsession with gambling: The gambler spends all day thinking about the money he won and lost as a result of his addiction, taking away his peace of mind and attention. In an extreme way, he has his attention focused on the game, excluding the information around him.

    Recovery through a gambling treatment is the most advisable when we detect a possible case of gambling. Regaining self-control and recovering your life is the most important thing, and at CITA you can find a solution to this disease.


    Gambling usually begins in the early teens in men and between the ages of 20 and 40 in women. As we pointed out before, it is a fact that new forms of communication are also an increasingly early portal to access the game. This double problem of, on the one hand, an increase in forms of gambling and, on the other, greater exposure of minors, is causing a worrying increase in the rates of gambling in Spain.

    Gambling involves repetitive behaviors. People with this problem have difficulty resisting or controlling the urge to gamble.
    Although it shares characteristics of obsessive compulsive disorder, gambling is a different condition.

    Some studies suggest that there are chemical causes at the root of addiction in gamblers. Norepinephrine levels in compulsive gamblers have been found to differ from those in casual gamblers.

    In gamblers, casual gambling leads to habitual gambling. Stressful situations can make gambling problems worse. Like any addiction, gambling can generate high levels of anxiety in the patient.

    People who suffer from compulsive gambling are often ashamed of it and try not to let others know about their problem.

    Gambling is defined as behavior consisting of five or more of the following symptoms:

    Tratamiento ludopatía


    • Cognitive behavioral therapy has been found to be effective in treating problem gambling.
    • The principles related to quitting (abstinence) for other types of addiction, such as drug addiction and alcoholism, can also be helpful in treating problem gambling.
    • Studies have been done on drugs to treat gambling. Preliminary results suggest that antidepressants and opioid antagonists (naltrexone) may help treat the symptoms of problem gambling. However, it is not yet clear which people will react favorably to the drugs.


    Like alcoholism or drug addiction, gambling is a chronic disorder that tends to get worse without treatment. Even with treatment, it is common to start playing again (relapses). However, gamblers have a very good prognosis with the right treatment and offering help for compulsive gamblers in the right center is highly effective.

    Despite this, the level of relapse implies that the treatment of compulsive gambling has to be carried out with special attention to the withdrawal of the patient. In other words, the process must emphasize developing the mechanisms that help the patient to avoid old patterns once he returns to her environment.


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    Getting proper gambling treatment can help prevent many of these problems.

    The person should consult with their doctor or a mental health professional if they think they have symptoms of gambling. At CITA we have a team of specialists that includes psychiatrists, sociotherapist psychologists who will help cure gambling … In all cases, professionals with accredited experience.

    Dr. Josep M. Fàbregas


    Josep Mª Fàbregas Pedrell is currently a specialist in addictions and psychiatrist director of the CITA Clinic for addictions and mental health, made up of the CITA Fundación, CITA Clínica, and CITA Young therapeutic centers.

    He started his professional career at the Marmottande Paris Hospital, where he works with Professor Claude Olievenstein.

    Later he moved to New York and, after several years of professional experience, in 1981 he founded CITA (Center for Research and Treatment of Addictions) with the aim of developing a model of professional therapeutic community, which has been in operation for 32 years. .