A hospital in Singapore has launched a self-help online interactive guide book to help gamblers reluctant to seek formal treatment despite having problems. The National Addictions Management Service (NAMS) at Singapore’s Institute of Mental Health launched the workbook, believed to be the first of its kind in Singapore, Xinhua reported citing TV channel Channel NewsAsia. The workbook is aimed at helping gamblers gain more insight into their behaviour, such as the triggers for gambling and their distorted beliefs. It includes information on how to develop strategies to say “no” to gambling.
Lawrence Tan, a NAMS psychologist and a member of the team that developed the workbook, said it was an effort to marry the benefits of the internet with the non-threatening concept of a self-guided intervention. ”While this is a fairly new concept, there is empirical evidence that online self-guided interventions are effective. However, they are meant only as a treatment adjunct, and as a first step to raise the gambler’s awareness of his own gambling behaviour so that he/she can consider seeking professional help,” he said. The number of gambling addiction cases handled by the NAMS in a 12-month period till March 31, 2011 rose by 27 percent year-on-year to a total 398 patients. Gambling addiction remains the third most common condition seen at the NAMS, after drug and alcohol addiction.