Gambling is a multi-billion-dollar industry that covers a wide spread of age groups, from middle school kids to the elderly. It’s estimated Americans spend more than 40 billion dollars a year on gambling.
Gambling is easy to access and can be done in a variety of ways. While many who gamble only do so occasionally, a significant portion of the population is classified as compulsive gamblers.
There’s nothing wrong with gambling — unless it causes problems for you or your family, or negatively affects other aspects of your life.
Compulsive gamblers struggle with the ability to control their gambling habits. Gambling addiction can affect the gambler’s health, as well as their family, finances, job and relationships.
Listen as Mark Gomez, MD, and his guest Glen Cannon, LCPC, discuss how to identify a gambling addiction and the options available for treatment.
Myths vs. Facts
“Gambling is not addictive.” – Myth
It’s addictive, just like alcohol or drugs.
“The house always wins, especially when it comes to compulsive gamblers.” – Fact
The house knows exactly how much edge they’ve got on each table, each machine. They make most of their money off compulsive gamblers, so they offer incentives to keep them coming back.
“If you can afford it, compulsive gambling isn’t really a problem.” – Myth and Fact
Compulsive gambling is a symptom of a disease. Financial loss is one of many negative consequences, but it’s not the only consequence. Compulsive gamblers go through a progression, starting with losses they can afford then betting more and more often. However, if someone can afford the losses and it doesn’t affect other aspects of their life, the gambling isn’t causing problems.
“Compulsive gamblers play every day.” – Myth
Not necessarily. It’s true that gambling problems have something to do with how often you go or how much you spend. The bottom line is, if it’s causing problems in your life, it is a problem.
“Gambling addiction causes problems that extend well beyond financial losses.” – Fact
Gambling addiction can lead to problems with relationships, family and personal health.
“All gamblers engage in criminal behavior.” – Myth
Some do, but not everyone who gambles.
“Teens don’t gamble. Only older people do.” – Myth
Younger people gamble, especially with the easy access of online gambling.
“Any person with a gambling addiction is capable of full and fast recovery with the right help and the willingness to accept that help.” – Fact
It can be a full recovery but it’s not fast. Any addiction requires a daily recovery program you continue for the rest of your life. There is a process to it.
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Gambling Treatment & Recovery Resources