March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, an annual grassroots public awareness and outreach campaign established by the National Council on Problem Gambling to educate the general public and healthcare professionals about the warning signs of problem gambling and raise awareness about the help and resources available.
For most, gambling can be fun. But for some, gambling can get out of control resulting in financial problems, legal issues, family/relationship conflict and even suicide attempts. Signs someone may have a gambling problem:
- Preoccupation with gambling.
- Secretive about his/her gambling habits, and defensive when confronted.
- Trying unsuccessfully to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
- Restless or irritable when not gambling.
- Gambling to escape problems.
- Trying to win back losses by more gambling.
- Lying to family and others about the extent of gambling.
- Jeopardizing or losing relationships, jobs, or career opportunities because of gambling.
- Relying on others to bail him or her out to relieve financial problems.
Here are some tips to begin the conversation with your family, your co-workers and your community:
- Choose the right time.
- Ask open ended conversations, like: what do you like about gambling?
- Listen non-judgmentally to what the person is saying.
If you know someone who is gambling problematically, it’s important to have a non-judgmental and an open conversation:
- Let the person know you are concerned for them in a caring manner.
- Be specific about the behaviors you have seen.
- Let them know you are willing to help, getting them to support and counseling.
Resources and confidential help is available at no cost 24/7 through the Maryland Problem Gambling Helpline 1-800-GAMBLER: be connected to treatment provider offering “no cost” counseling; have a conversation with a Peer Support Specialist who has been there; and receive additional referrals to support, such as local Gamblers Anonymous meetings. Or visit helpmygamblingproblem.org for additional resources and information.
This March take ACTION for help and hope.