Today I was contacted by a concerned friend who’s loved one had recently returned from active duty service with a potential gambling problem. More information is surfacing regarding Military Service Personnel suffering a greater incidence of disordered gambling than the general population.
For a compulsive gambler, there is no “choice.” What may start out as recreation, crosses over into an emotional escape mechanism, to a mental health disorder recognized as such by the American Psychiatric Society since 1980. Those suffering with Disordered Gambling are known to have the highest suicide rate of any other segment of society. Media reports continue to note the increased incidence of suicide among our returning Veterans.
Greater numbers of returning Vets, increased incidence of compulsive gambling coupled with PTSD and heightened suicide in our Military are cause for concern, vigilance on the part of family members and loved ones and self-awareness among our returning Veterans. Help IS available and Problem Gambling IS treatable. If you are suffering from a gambling addiction, please reach out to friends, self-help groups, professional counselors and support groups. Pick up the phone and dial 1-800-522-4700.