Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

It's been awhile since I have blogged a post here that's NOT reblogged from my own recovery blog. One of the ways to inform, educate, and raise awareness about addicted and problem gambling is to talk about it. As gambling in our society is seen as so socially accepted, the STIGMA around those of us in recovery from this disease is growing. Also growing is the sheer numbers of those turning into "problem & addicted gamblers" as well.

What also has changed is the type of people who are becoming problem or addicted gamblers, and quite frankly I'm shocked at the continuing rise of suicides as well.
The first group who are being touched by addicted gambling is Your College age students and teens. Some of what I will share in facts and statistics comes from a few websites, and are good friends. The caring folks from Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance has done some god research about problem gambling...

Problem gambling also known as gambling addiction or compulsive gambling, is defined as the urge to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop
. It’s estimated that approximately 160,000 to 214,000 Minnesotans struggle with this addictive disorder, which can destroy lives, threaten family relationships and empty retirement savings.

Virtually anyone – men or women, young or old, from every religion, race and socio-economic background – can be at risk for developing a gambling problem. They can play the horses, slots, the lottery, pull-tabs, cards and bingo.

It is estimated that one to two percent of Minnesotans meet the diagnostic criteria for compulsive gambling. Another one to two percent experience problems related to their gambling behaviors.

The most serious form of problem gambling is pathological gambling, the essential feature of which is “persistent and recurrent maladaptive behavior that disrupts personal, family or vocational pursuits.” (American Psychiatric Association – DSM-IV)

Compulsive gambling can result in social, emotional and financial devastation, including loss of relationships, residence, emotional or physical health, and career or educational opportunities.

Some compulsive gamblers commit illegal acts to support their gambling or to pay off gambling-related debts. Some go to prison or are admitted to psychiatric institutions. It is not uncommon to hear about compulsive gamblers who attempt or commit suicide.

Each year, the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance holds several regional trainings, as well as an annual conference. For more information, please visit the calendar of events.

*You can visit their site for recovery resources, and excellent information*

As stated above, sometimes it does take until we have commited an ilegal act, and be arrested and charged with a crime before a person stops and gets help. It happened to me. I had spent 19+ years in the Banking field and never stole a penny. That is the cunning nature of this disease. Your thoughts and thinking get very distorted and you make very poor choices when addicted.

Another fact that people who have no understanding about addicted gambling, the addiction and disease, is the dextox process when you first come into treatment. YES,....I said DETOX. A misconception about addicted gambling and the syptoms of this illness are the same as any other addiction. That was hard for me to admitt and wrap my mind around when I first came into treament and recovery. It's a scary thing to think about,.....a sick gambler gets the same highs, rush, and feelings as a drug addict, an alcoholic, and all others addictions. But the huge difference is we don't have to drink a liquid, smoke anything, pop pills, or even stick a needle in our arm to get that high.

No, we do it with the body and brain chemicals in ourselves. It's why the physical and medical problems of Hyper tension, Heart disease, Heart attacks, High blood pressure, and even poor diet problems are a few negitives from being under pressure and stress for long periods with gambling addiction. And detox is much the same. We have the same physical symptoms when we stop gambling.
We have shakes, sweats, upset stomach, mood swings, and more. Here is a little more facts from my good friends at The National Council On Problem Gambling:

*To touch a bit more on this, what bothers me about casinos? There are to many of them in every State. Same goes with State lotteries. In Oregon where I moved from, there was state lottery everywhere you went to eat a meal, have a cocktail with friends, at the grocery store, it's even in our kids schools with casino night and scratch ticket raffels. So for those of us in recovery from gambling, it can be hard to stay in recovery*

What types of gambling cause the most problem gambling?
Again, the cause of a gambling problem is the individual’s inability to control the gambling. Therefore, any type of gambling can become problematic, just as an alcoholic can get drunk on any type of alcohol. But some types of gambling have different characteristics that may exacerbate gambling problems. While these factors are still poorly understood, anecdotal reports indicate that one risk factor may be a fast speed of play. In other words, the faster the wager to response time with a game, the more likely players may be to develop problems with a particular game.

*Another misconception of gambling is that there are certain types of gambling that a person will addicted to, and like the statement above, that is not true. It can be cards, dice, even slot machines! I got addicted to slots and video poker machines. Also, anyone can become addicted. When I attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings, we have all walks of life come through those doors for help and hope.
Laywers, moms, dads, bankers, construction workers, doctors, sports players, actors, seniors, college kids, all kinds of people are touched by this addiction.*

You can find help, a local meeting in your area or even talk to someone anonymously when you visit the website of the caring people at Gamblers Anonymous; http://www.gamblersanonymous.org
Here you can get all the help you need, and find local meetings in your area.
So no matter where you chose to get help if you or someone you know is a problem gambler, just please get help. I write, blog, and advocate about addicted compulsive gambling so no other person has to choose suicide as the only answer to stop gambling. I say this because at one point I tried,... twice and failed, and I lost 2 friends in my home GA meeting group from suicide. I'm tired of the precious loss of life from all types of addictions and mental illness too.

I hope this post and information in it will help someone today. I also hope it will help others have a little more understanding of gambling addiction, and how to get the one needs to recover....


God Bless All,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author of "Addicted To Dimes"
My Story of Gambling Addiction...