July 22, 2013
If one were to Google “Internet Cafe”, a consortium of choices will confront you. What are these Internet Cafes and what are they really selling? Some would describe them as storefronts conducting gambling operations (unlicensed, unregulated, untaxed, and illegal.) Proprietors of these cafes describe their operation as providing a service or product; phone cards and Internet time, as well as a chance to win prizes. In fact, they compare their operation to that of a sweepstakes such as the McDonald’s Monopoly game or one of the big companies (like Home Depot, Olive Garden, K-mart) that offer customers an opportunity to win a prize if they complete an online survey (after purchasing a product). Read more →
Dostoevsky recorded his struggles with Gambling Addiction in the 1800’s, yet the American Psychiatric Association did not recognize this addiction until 1980.
Today The American Psychiatic Association recognizes the disease of
Disordered Gambling as a treatable mental health disorder.
Fyodor Dostoevsky famously wrote “The Gambler” , published in 1867. Obviously not a work of complete fiction, Dostoevsky notably had first-hand experience as a gambling addict.
In a letter to his beloved Anya, Dostoevsky asks her to
“Remember too that I’m not a scoundrel, just a passionate gambler.”
Certainly one can surmise that with the expanded availability of gambling (now legal in 48 states), the incidence of problem or “disordered gambling” is likely to have increased commensurately. It has been well-documented that gambling has been around since ancient times. It would also seem, based on Dostoevsky’s letter to his wife, that gambling addiction has existed through the ages.
Get a glimpse of the mind of a compulsive gambler in Dostoevsky’s letter to Ayna Dostoevsky_Letter
The title says it all. “It’s only a penny machine. I don’t understand how I just blew another paycheck.” Unfortunately, this refrain is heard throughout 12-step rooms around the country and not just from the grandmother type, but from all walks of life. It’s true that it may be a penny machine, but many of these themed machines offer one the ability to play many pennies at a time or even change the denomination of the coin. Read more →
May 22, 2013
Perhaps…HOPE, HELP and ultimately enhanced UNDERSTANDING and TREATMENT
Clinicians have long-awaited the release of the DSM-5, with the resultant recategorization and change in nomenclature for Gambling Addiction, from Pathological Gambling, Gambling Addiction, Compulsive Gambling and a variety of terms used to discern the varying degrees of severity of addiction, to the newly endorsed term of “Disordered Gambling.“
For those who suffer from a gambling addiction, or “Disordered Gambling” ….the name doesn’t matter. The category doesn’t matter. What matters is..access to treatment, being cared for with dignity as one who suffers from a serious illness versus an individual of weak morals and even weaker character. Gambling addiction is a progressive illness. By the time the afflicted individual reaches out for help, financial resources are decimated, familial relations are strained and help of any kind is hard to come by. There are a few low-cost outpatient treatment services available and, in most states, residential treatment, if available at all, is cost prohibitive and not underwritten by insurance or social services. Read more →
May 10, 2012
DROP THE GUN. DROP THE PILLS. PICK UP THE PHONE! Over the past 10 days I have literally connected directly with four people suffering from gambling addiction who were at the brink of suicide. Thank the Lord they are all still with us and reaching out for RECOVERY! This disease that hijacks our brains and eradicates our souls also can be arrested with treatment and mutual aid groups, spiritual counsel, a friend who cares…there ARE “No wrong doors” …just enter one and RECOVER. Life is precious and the pain passes. Those in recovery from addiction are LIVING PROOF…RECOVERY is a reality for many and it can be for those who consider the ultimate choice.
SUCIDE PREVENTION HELPLINE is 800-273-8255.
GAMBLING ADDICTION HELPLINE is 800-522-4700.
RECOGNIZING PROBLEM GAMBLING
In recognition of National Mental Health Month, Boulder City Hospital’s Mental Health: Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) staff will participate in a one-hour introductory course to understanding and recognizing Problem Gambling.
Lanie’s Hope Founder and Advocate for the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, Bea Aikens will present a one hour presentation, providing a basic explanation of what happens when gambling becomes an addiction and review screening methods and resources available to identify and treat problem gamblers and their families.
Innovator and Trail Blazer in the field of Problem Gambling, Executive Director of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, Carol O’Hare, sets the tone for this year’s conference with the Opening Keynote,
Problem Gambling in Nevada: Then, Now and in the Future
Conference Featured Presentations Include:
- Addiction and Recovery from an Atheists Perspective
- Youth Gambling Awareness in the Classroom
- Internet Use Disorder
- Understanding the Female Trajectory into Problem Gambling
- Changing the Game:Supportings Young People in Recovery
Known for innovation, this renowned conference concludes with the unique presentation Experiential Yoga and the 12 Steps.
Butler, PA continues to blaze new trails in Problem Gambling Education in Western Pennsylvania.
Friday, March 15 2013 12:30-3:30
Monarch Place, Red Chimney Hall
100 Brugh Avenue Butler, PA 16001
This Town Hall Meeting is open to the public. Clergy, Social Workers, Counselors, Attorneys, Financial Advisors and Family Support Services will find this information especially valuable, as Pennsylvanians struggle with a rise in gambling addiction.
Pennsylvania has the second highest gambling revenue in the Nation; second only to Nevada. While many people can gamble recreationally, those impacted by Problem Gambling face severe consequence. Compulsive Gambling is a serious public health issue.
Topics covered will include an overview of Butler County’s Problem Gambling Initiative, Assessment of Local and National data on compulsive gambling, an Educational Program on the Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction and access to Available Resources for those impacted by problem gambling.
Lanie’s Hope Founder Bea Aikens will conclude the presentation with a personal story of Recovery and her mission to Advocate for Social Change in Problem Gambling.
In May psychiatrists will start referring to gambling addiction as a behavioral addiction, the first disorder in that newly created category of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the textbook for psychiatry that’s widely used by doctors, courts, and insurance companies. The latest edition of the DSM—DSM-5—will be published in May.
Gambling isn’t often thought of as a health issue, that perception needs to change.
My first bet was made at age 12. Since I am now 57, I will skip early years of gambling and get to what occurred in my life that got me to the wonderful place in my life called recovery.
I always lived on the edge craving excitement. Whether it was living like an outlaw and seeing if I could get away with it or betting on a 40 to 1 long shot, I enjoyed, and later found out I needed, the rush. The reason I needed it was I had an uncontrollable and an incurable disease. It is called compulsive gambling.
Like most compulsive gamblers, I won… at first. But over the years when it got to the point that there was not enough to win, my life became completely unmanageable. Becoming a great liar and rationalizer I hid my problem from my wife. I would also try to hide from my higher power, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. I surely couldn’t hide from him! Read more →
As has been the case for many others I have spoken with, my own gambling story begins at a young age (10). Family vacations with my father would involve trips to the Ruidoso Downs race track, where I was given $20 for the day to bet on horses. Later, he would teach me how to play poker, and by the time I was a teenager I was playing occasionally, and later regularly, with a group of his colleagues. By the time I was in college, I became involved in a high-stakes pot-limit game, and won enough money over time to move out of the house and get my own apartment while I was in school. There were two men in that game that I (and others) won money from fairly consistently, and looking back I now realize that it was not just because (as I thought) they were “bad” player, but because they were compulsive (pathological) gamblers who would stay in the game until the last card on almost every hand.
When I finished my graduate degree in 1991, I received a job offer from the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas to supervise archaeological work out at the infamous Yucca Mountain Project. I was thrilled to get a job in archaeology, and was excited about the prospects of moving to Las Vegas. For many years after moving to Las Vegas I continued to play live poker. While I never considered myself a professional player, I did well enough to win a little money over the long run, and saw it as an entertaining pastime. I didn’t understand the appeal of the video poker machines…it seemed like a complete waste of time to play a machine, where you had no control over the outcome. Occasionally, I would put $20 into a machine, but never won anything substantial until I hit my first royal flush for $1,000 in the mid-1990s. It was a few years later that I hit a 2nd one, and then very soon after, a third. “Aha! This is why people play the machines!” I thought. Gradually, I played less and less live poker and more and more video poker until soon I was playing video poker almost exclusively. It didn’t seem to matter that intellectually I knew I was never going to beat a computer chip. Read more →
For some Super Bowl Sunday is a day of fun and excitement punctuated by friendly banter, cheering on the home team, and eating too much “stadium food.” For others, Super Bowl Sunday marks a day of high adrenaline, high risk behavior and excessive wagering.
According to the The National Council on Problem Gambling, “The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events of the year for Gamblers. For some betting on the game is a desperate effort to get ahead or get even.”
If betting on a game means too much to you or someone you know, hope and help is available anytime. The National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) is availble 24/7 and you will be directed to help in your area. Calls are free and confidential.