Did you know that March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month?
Problem gambling is an addication that affects many people, either directly or indirectly, including the social and economic costs of gambling addiction. Problem Gambling causes disruption in many major areas of life: psychological, physical, social, or vocational. Like other addictions, symptoms can range from mild to severe. The most serious form of gambling is called “Pathological” or “Compulsive” Gambling.
The main features are:
- increasing preoccupation with gambling
- a need to bet more money more frequently
- restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop
- “chasing” losses
- loss of control manifested by continuation in spite of increasing serious, negative results.
In extreme cases, Problem Gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide.
How widespread is problem gambling in the US?
It is estimated that 2 million (1%) of U.S. adults meet the criteria for pathological gambling in a given year. Another 4-6 million (2-3%) would be considered Problem Gamblers; that is, they do not meet the full criteria for pathological gambling, but meet one or more of the criteria, and are experiencing problems due to their gambling. Research also indicates that many adults who gamble are able to do so responsibly.
What kind of people become problem gamblers?
Anyone who gambles can develop problems if they are not aware of the risks and don’t gamble responsibly. When gambling behavior interferes with finances, relationships and the workplace, a serious problem probably exists.
Because gambling has increased a lot over the years and because the results of a gambling problem can be so severe, it’s important to be well informed about Problem Gambling. At some point in your lifetime, you may know a Problem Gambler or be at risk yourself.
That’s why Health Power is educating the general public and healthcare professionals, locally and nationally, about the warning signs of problem gambling, and to raise awareness that more help is available from the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), www.ncpgambling.org.
Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!