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-V)
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 and a conference every other year.
Hope for anyone suffering from gambling addiction is just one call away. Call the Minnesota Problem Gambling Helpline at (800) 333-HOPE. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Recovery from gambling addiction is possible.
When I was asked to share my story, I didn’t hesitate. I think it’s so important for people to see that everyday, regular people can have a gambling addiction. And by telling my story I hope I can help others and reduce the shame of compulsive gambling.
Looking back on it, I guess it’s not surprising that I developed a gambling problem. I had a risk-taking personality and was exposed to various forms of gambling as early as age 9. Read more . . .
Gambling Recovery Starts Here
Treatment for gambling addiction works. Recovery allows one to experience a new, better world with emotional, spiritual and physical health. It starts with a call to the Minnesota Gambling Helpline at 1-800-333-HOPE or a visit to GetGamblingHelp.com. Treatment for gambling addiction is offered at no cost in the state of Minnesota.
Is Gambling Costing You Your Family?
Problem gambling can disrupt the lives of gamblers and their family. If you know someone who may have a problem, or if you think you need help for yourself, counseling is available at no cost to Minnesotans. Call the Minnesota Gambling Helpline at 1-800-333-HOPE or visit GetGamblingHelp.com. You can also contact a state-approved certified gambling counselor here.