For most people, gambling is a fun activity that can be enjoyed without harmful effects. But for some, it’s not just a game. It’s a serious problem that continues, even after the fun is gone.
What is Problem Gambling?
Just as some people can become addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is possible for a person to become obsessed with an uncontrollable urge to gamble. Problem gambling is an emotional illness that often remains hidden until the consequences of repeated gambling begin to affect the financial and emotional security of the gambler and the family.
As the stress of these consequences increases, the problem gambler finds that he or she must seek relief through even more gambling. The result is a progressive financial and emotional deterioration which can destroy both the gambler and his or her family.
Problem gambling can affect men and women of any age, race or religion, regardless of financial or social status. It is not possible to predict who will develop a gambling problem, but once identified, the problem can be successfully treated.
Problem gambling is not easily detected. The person with a gambling problem often will go to great lengths to maintain a normal appearance, while covering up the consequences of their gambling. Some of the indicators that a person may be suffering from a gambling problem include:
- Losing time from work, school, or family due to gambling
- Repeated failed attempts to stop or control the gambling
- Borrowing money to gamble or pay gambling debts
- Gambling to escape worry or trouble
- Neglecting the care of one’s self or family in order to gamble
- Lying about the amount of time and money spent on gambling
- Gambling more money in an attempt to win back losses
- Selling or pawning personal possessions to get money to gamble
- Feelings of hopelessness or depression as a result of gambling
Help is Available
If you are experiencing fear, frustration or anger due to a gambling problem, you are not alone. Recognition and a sincere desire to stop gambling are all a person needs to start the recovery process. By reaching out to people who understand, you can find the help you need, without fear of judgment or further pain.
Family Service offers individual and family counseling, group therapy, case management, psychiatry, and family support services to help you overcome your gambling problem and the financial, relationship and mental health challenges that often come with it.
To access services, call our Intake Department at 215.757.6916, ext. 159. Services are available both in-person and virtually. You can also call the Pennsylvania Problem Gambling Helpline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537). The helpline is an information and referral service for people with gambling problems, or who are concerned about someone who is gambling.