March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, a time to increase awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services. With sports betting legalized in Ohio two months ago, it’s more important than ever to focus on this issue and the array of help available in our community.
Here are four things to know:
1. What exactly is problem gambling
The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) defines it as “gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits.” Symptoms include increasing preoccupation with gambling, a desire to bet more money more frequently and restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop. For a complete list of symptoms and more information, check out the NCPG’s website.
2. The prevalence of problem gambling
Problem gambling disorder is estimated to affect about two million U.S. adults a year, according to multiple sources. In Ohio, problem gambling may be on the rise. ABC 6 recently reported that in the first month of legalized sports betting, the state’s Problem Gambling Hotline received 1,500 calls. In January of last year, that number was 500.
3. Who is affected most by problem gambling
Yale Medicine notes that risk factors for gambling disorder may include sex, age, family, other behavior disorders and personality traits. Problem gambling is more prevalent for men and youth. Individuals with gambling problems often misuse alcohol and drugs or have mood or personality disorders. Additionally, personality traits like being extremely competitive or restless can put someone at greater risk.
4. Where to get help for problem gambling
The good news is, many local resources are available to help anyone struggling with problem gambling.
Maryhaven is one of six problem gambling treatment centers recognized for its best practices by the State of Ohio. Thanks to funding from the ADAMH Board of Franklin County and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Service, Maryhaven’s Gambling Intervention Program offers counseling and prevention services for problem gamblers and their families throughout Central Ohio for free. The team at Maryhaven is uniquely qualified to treat gambling addiction and other co-occurring issues a gambler faces, such as depression or substance use disorder. Use Maryhaven’s confidential online form to request an appointment or ask a question or call 614-324-5425.