Assessment of the problem

It is important to obtain a detailed appraisal of the extent and amount of gambling occurring, as well as a detailed history of the development of the gambling from its early beginnings. Since the history is often chequered, a more accurate account can usually be obtained if the person being assessed provides the information by means of a detailed written narrative. This can subsequently be amplified and used as the basis of discussion.

In addition, an attempt should be made to obtain some indication of the person's motivation. Many who seek help for pathological gambling appear not to recognize the need even to restrict their gambling. Indeed, many of these people readily admit that they enjoy it and only want assistance for the problems that have resulted. It is important to emphasize that, at least initially, there must be an immediate period of total abstinence.

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