An entire week is
devoted to the awareness of gambling addiction. Becoming aware of the gravity
of addiction to gambling can help bring awareness to a disease that affects a
high percentage of people causing dire consequences. Some of the statistics
regarding gambling addiction can be startling.

  •  85%
    of adults in the United States have gambled at least once in their lives.
  • 15
    million people show signs of having a gambling addiction.
  • Gamblers
    that have a household income less than $10,000 bet three times on the
    lottery compared to individuals with a household income over $50,000.
  • 65%
    of gamblers commit crimes to support their gambling habit.

 The ways that an addict can support their gambling addiction
can be in the form of standard casinos to lotto tickets, bingo halls and 50/50
raffles. The concept of gambling just a little bit is non-existent for an
individual suffering with an addiction. The desire to for that big win will
take over the brain of the addict, creating situations where the addict will
not know when to stop. Unlike an addiction to drugs and alcohol, the symptoms
of a gambling addiction are not always physically apparent. The consequences of
a gambling addiction can be extremely devastating.

 It is not uncommon for gambling addicts to spend beyond
their means. Doing so can result in being unable to pay bills, having utilities
shut off, losing a home and engaging in criminal activities to support the
gambling addiction. Funds that are being saved for necessities end up being
spent on the latest game, the fastest dog, the horse that can never lose, the
numbers that are sure to win and the slot machine that is just warmed up. The
slope from enjoying a game of chance can easily become so slick that an addict
ends up at the bottom.

 Programs and fellowships exist that can aid an individual
that thinks they may have an addiction. Recovery resources are also available
for individuals that have a friend or loved one that has a gambling problem.
This week of awareness will hopefully bring attention to how having fun can
turn into a serious problem for individuals who have a predisposition towards

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Recovery and Life Coach by phone and in Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Malibu, and Calabasas.  Contact Sherry at for information regarding speaking engagements, workshops, coaching packages, and teleseminars.

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