Why Do I Need to Know About Problem Gambling?

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Gambling addiction is a public health problem impacting relationships, families, businesses and communities. The National Council on Problem Gambling highlights National Problem Gambling Awareness Month.


Legalized gambling is more readily available now than at any other time in U.S. history: 48 states allow some form of gambling. Although most people gamble for fun and recreation, some can develop a problem that can lead to severe negative consequences. Problem gambling not only causes issues with the gamblers themselves but many other people are affected by an individual’s gambling problem, whether they be family members, friends, or even employers.

Consequences of a gambling disorder may include:

  •     Financial devastation for the individual as well as the family
  •     Mental and physical health issues, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, etc.
  •     Ruined relationships with loved ones
  •     Domestic violence, both verbal and physical abuse
  •     Work issues, i.e. lower productivity rates, frequent absences, embezzlement, etc.

Depression and mental health concerns are prevalent among problem gamblers. National studies show that problem gamblers have the highest rate of suicide among any other addictive disorder. It is important to know the risks involved with gambling, as anyone who gambles can develop a problem.

The importance of the National Problem Gambling Awareness Month campaign lies in the growth of collaborative efforts among organizations across the country to raise public awareness regarding problem gambling and its impacts on individuals, families, communities and society as a whole. The National Council on Problem Gambling has developed various ready-to-use tools to aid organizations in this grassroots effort.

To access these materials and to learn more about National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, please visit http://www.npgam.org. As always, if you or anyone you know is experiencing an issue with gambling, help is available now. Please call the toll-free National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.

Keith Whyte

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