The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) advisory provides a description of gambling problems at http://www.ncpgambling.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Gambling-Addiction-An-Introduction-for-Behavioral-Health-Providers-SAMHSA-2014.pdf . Excerpts from this article are copied below:
“Gambling is defined as risking something of value, usually money, on the outcome of an event decided at least partially by chance.1 Lottery tickets, bingo games, blackjack at a casino, the Friday night poker game, the office sports pool, gambling Web sites, horse and dog racing, animal fights, and slot machines—there are now more opportunities to gamble than ever before. More than 75 percent of Americans ages 18 and older have gambled at least once, and many people view gambling as a harmless form of entertainment.
Only about 10 percent of people with a gambling problem seek treatment for the problem. When people do seek help, financial pressures that result from their gambling problem are often the main reason they seek treatment, not a desire to abstain from gambling. In addition, people with a gambling problem are more likely to have sought help for other behavioral health conditions than for their gambling problem.”
Additional information from this article suggests:
“Gambling problems are associated with poor health, several medical disorders, and increased medical utilization—perhaps adding to the country’s healthcare costs. People with pathological gambling tend to have lower self-appraisal of physical and mental health functioning than those who gamble little or not at all; people with gambling problems are significantly more likely than low-risk individuals to rate their health as poor. People with gambling problems are also more likely to have received expensive medical services during the prior year, such as treatment in an emergency department.”
There may be several warning signs of gambling addiction that can help you spot a problem. These may include financial difficulties, family issues, work or school problems or legal problems. If you suspect that someone you know may have a problem with gambling addiction, don’t hesitate to get professional support and help. Call the Oregon Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-877-MYLIMIT (1-877-695-4648) for confidential information that is free to Oregon residents. You can also call Lifeways at 541-889-9167 for additional information about their gambling services.