Gambling addiction is a disorder that’s often not well understood — even among healthcare professionals.
Here are some important things for you to understand.
The Cambridge Health Alliance is sponsoring the 6th annual Gambling Disorder Screening Day. Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance encourages you to review the complete toolkit. In particular, the “Why Screen for Gambling” link encourages all health care providers to ask just two questions when talking with their patients. Affirmative answers suggest you provide a referral to a trained problem gambling provider and/or provide your client with a copy of the self-help booklet “Your First Step to CHANGE.”
Two Questions To Ask Your Clients
Asking your clients these two questions and receiving affirmative answers could make the difference in your client’s recovery:
- Have you ever lied to people about how much you gambled? and
- Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?
Yes answers to both questions could indicate a problem and should be further investigated.
Be sure that your clients know that Minnesotans with a gambling problem and affected family members can get treatment at no cost through the state. The state operates a 24/7 helpline for individuals with gambling concerns: 1-800-333-4673 (HOPE)
Given the subtle nature of gambling problems, how can you identify someone who is at risk for compulsive gambling? Here are eight warning signs of a gambling problem:
- Increased frequency of gambling activity
- Increased amount of money gambled
- Gambling for longer periods of time than originally planned
- Bragging about wins, but not talking about losses
- Pressuring others for money as financial problems arise
- Lying about how money is spent
- Escaping to other excesses (alcohol, drugs, sleep, etc.)
- Denying there is a problem
Gambling: From Recreational to Addictive
Most people enjoy gambling in a responsible manner. But some develop an addiction to gambling, suffering social, emotional and financial devastation. Virtually anyone—men or women, young or old, and those from every religion, race and socio-economic background—is at risk for developing a gambling problem. Read about the signs of problem gambling here.