As we wind down Problem Gambling Awareness Month, it’s a good time to revisit the conversation about this serious condition. But why should we worry about gambling addiction when there are so many other important issues that affect our community?
It’s true that Lancaster and Lebanon, like many other communities, deal with alcohol and drug issues, including the rise in opioid addiction. That doesn’t mean that we can’t–or shouldn’t–help those affected by problem gambling.
Compulsive gambling is sometimes called the silent addiction. People who struggle with it don’t typically show physical symptoms as they might with other addictions. For example, a problem gambler might not slur their speech or act erratically. What’s more, the act of gambling itself doesn’t cause direct physical harm or death like, say, heroin.
However, the condition still has a significant and life-altering impact on the gambler and those he or she loves.
- About 5% of Americans meet the criteria for problematic gambling behavior. The circle of impact extends to the gambler’s partner, children, parents, siblings, friends, and coworkers.
- Up to 24% of compulsive gamblers have attempted suicide–a rate higher than that of any other addiction.
- Gambling-addicted people have higher rates of alcohol abuse.
- Up to 75% of problem gamblers show signs of clinical depression.
- The average problem gambler’s debt is more than $38,000.
Another reason it has such an impact on our community is because it affects people of every age, gender, and ethnicity. One problem gambler might be a star high school athlete who bets on sports; another might be an 80-year-old grandmother who likes to play online slots.
Whether you need a treatment referral for gambling addiction or prevention programs for your 6th grade classroom, Compass Mark will direct you to the right problem gambling resources. Call 717-299-2831.
Learn more from this gambling infographic by the National Council on Problem Gambling.