Gambling addiction is a “hidden illness” because, unlike substance addiction, it does not show obvious physical signs or symptoms. Problem gamblers typically hide or minimize the problem. Gambling causes more than just monetary problems. Excessive time spent gambling can strain relationships, interfere with work and/or can lead to financial catastrophe. With the right help, problem gamblers can overcome their addiction and regain control of their lives. The first step is recognizing and acknowledging the problem.
Legal gambling is now an accepted part of the social landscape for many communities. The number of gaming establishments has climbed dramatically in the last few years as state and local governments look at gambling revenue as a means of subsidizing income. Most people (an estimated 85%) engage in some form of gambling, whether by visiting a casino, or by playing the lottery, racetracks, or sports games. Five percent of those people develop an addiction to gambling. Few seek help, and when they do, they often talk about other issues that come about as a result of gambling (i.e., financial, legal, marital, family, and work-related problems).
Gambling affects both males and females. National data suggests that two-thirds of gamblers are males and one-third females. In areas where there are established casinos, this ratio may be different, and at times affecting males and females equally. Internet gambling is on the rise and there is no data yet on prevalence of Internet gamblers.
If you are worried that you or a loved one may have a gambling addiction problem, please call Human Behavior Institute. Contact us; we are here to help.