When gambling becomes a problem

Annie had been patient for a long while, thinking that Barney would get through his gambling phase, realize what a financial drain it actually was, and decide to walk away from it. But it had gone on too long and she was worried about paying bills, keeping them afloat financially, and holding on to the roof over their heads. And they had to eat, too.

Carl didn’t know his wife, Diane, had a gambling problem. He went to work, his paycheck was direct deposited in their joint checking account and he trusted that she was paying the bills. It worked for himuntil he accidently stumbled over what was actually happening when Diane wasn’t home and he opened the mail, much of it bills and termination notices.

Eugene’s wife died. They had been married for nearly 60 years. With her passing he was lost. They had always gone to the casino, but they had set an amount they felt they could afford and when they lost it, they stopped their gaming and went home. But with Frannie’s passing, overwhelmed with grief and loneliness, the gambling had gotten the better of him. He exceeded every penny he owned and approached his brother-in-law for a loan. George refused to help him. He was in over his head and didn’t have any idea how to fix things.

Here are some problem gambling quick facts from Ohio.gov’s Ohio for Responsible Gambling organization:

Problem gambling refers to any gambling that goes beyond the “normal” bounds of gambling for fun, recreation or entertainment.

Compulsive gambling (or pathological gambling) is a recognized and treatable illness.

Problem gambling rates among teens and young adults have been shown to be 2-3 times that of adults.

Providing a financial bailout for compulsive gamblers may actually make the problem worse.

Gambling is not a way to solve financial problems.

Children of problem gamblers may be at higher risk for a broad range of health, mental health and school-related problems.

Common warning signs are bragging about winning, exaggerating wins and/or minimizing losses, spending a lot of time gambling, thinking about or planning to gamble, restless or irritable when not gambling, borrowing for gambling, hiding time spent gambling or hiding bills and unpaid debts, and lying about how much time or money is spent gambling.

Gamblers Anonymous advises it is “a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling. There are no dues or fees for membership.”

For more information about availability of Gamblers Anonymous in the area, or for more about gambling addiction, contact Family Recovery Center, at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468 or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org.

For more information about Problem Gambling, stop at Family Recovery Center to pick up an informative brochure.

FRC promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related mental health issues. Funding for FRC’s problem gambling program is provided through Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services.