Does a Senior in Your Life Need Problem Gambling Help?

It’s no big deal when seniors gamble…or is it? Gambling can be a fun diversion for many older Americans; however, some seniors are at risk for developing problem gambling, a brain condition that can seriously impact emotional and physical well-being. March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, so it’s an ideal time to consider whether a senior in your life needs help for unhealthy gambling behavior.

What are the signs of problem gambling in seniors?
  • Increasing preoccupation with gambling;
  • Betting with increasing amounts of money;
  • Becoming irritable or frustrated when he or she can’t gamble;
  • Using gambling to ease sadness, loneliness, boredom, or stress;
  • Lying or acting evasively when asked about gambling;
  • Declining levels of self-care (not bathing, not taking needed medication, etc.);
  • Pawning or selling possessions, valuables, or heirlooms;
  • Unusual cashing out of retirement accounts or life insurance policies.

Learn if your loved one is at risk by taking the quiz on our home page.

Can seniors be treated for gambling problems?

Yes! Your family member or friend is never “too old” or “too set” in his or her ways to start healing from gambling addiction. Therapists trained to work with this condition offer the resources to help seniors.

While anyone struggling with problem gambling will benefit from professional treatment, seniors in particular need help sooner rather than later. For instance, unhealthy gambling behavior causes a significant amount of stress that can strain an existing heart condition, putting your loved one’s physical health at risk. Learn more in 5 Reasons to Get Problem Gambling Help for a Senior—Now.

Where can I find gambling treatment in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA?

Check out these area Treatment Providers trained to work with gambling-addicted people. Compass Mark also offers information and referral guidance. Our team can even conference call with your loved one and his or her health insurance provider to sort out treatment/insurance-related questions. Call us at 717-299-2831.

For more in-depth information, join Compass Mark for Start the Conversation: Fantasy Sports Gamble on Wednesday, March 30, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This session, held at the Blair Room, 630 Janet Avenue, Lancaster, is worth 2 CEU credits.


Problem Gambling: What Health Care Pros, Counselors Need to Know, Plus CEU Opportunity

What do you know about problem gambling? It wouldn’t be surprising if the answer was Not much. This serious and progressive condition often flies under the radar. March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, which makes now the ideal time to learn more about this addiction and how it might affect your patients or clients. Get the basics below, and then discover more information at Compass Mark’s Start the Conversation: Fantasy Sports Gamble, on Wednesday, March 30, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (This session, held at the Blair Room, 630 Janet Avenue, Lancaster, is worth 2 CEU credits.)

Problem gambling is a public health issue.

The condition itself, which is classified in the DSM-5 as a behavioral addiction, affects 6-9 million Americans–about 2-3% of the population. Problem gamblers are at higher risk for other conditions as well, including clinical depression and substance abuse. However, as with other addictions, the impact spreads far beyond the addicted person’s own life. Compulsive gambling behavior breaks up marriages, fractures relationships with children, and affects work productivity.

Problem Gambling Resources for Health Care & Counseling Professionals

Compass Mark Referral Team Info
Problem Gambling Treatment in Lancaster, Lebanon, and the Surrounding Area
Gambling in Primary Care Patients: Why Should We Care and What Can We Do About It?
Center for Gaming Research
National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)

Learn more in the NCPG’s gambling infographic below.

The Link Between Gambling Addiction and Domestic Violence (And How to Find Help)

Compulsive gambling is not a money problem, and it’s not a gambler’s problem—it’s a family problem. And in some families, the addiction creates an unsafe environment for the gambler’s partner. People with problem gambling live in a tense world, in which arguments and disagreements can too quickly turn into physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of a significant other.

Statistics on the gambling addiction/domestic violence link

Mental health professionals and researchers have long understood that gambling addiction raises the risk for dysfunction within the family—and that includes a heightened risk of violence. Check out these domestic violence/gambling problem statistics:

  • Women with partners who were problem gamblers had a higher risk of intimate partner violence than those with non-problem gambling partners. (NIH Library of Medicine)
  • Having a partner with pathological gambling (the most serious form of gambling addiction) increased the risk of both dating violence and severe marital violence. Not surprisingly, this study of more than 3,300 people also linked compulsive gambling to a higher risk of severe child abuse. (NIH Library of Medicine)
  • More than 80% of women with spouses who were violent against them reported the partner had at least one “bad” habit like alcohol abuse or problem gambling. (NIH Library of Medicine)
  • About 65% of problem gamblers in one study reported they had committed domestic violence or had been the victim of it in the previous year—25% reported committing severe intimate partner violence. (NIH Library of Medicine)
  • Of men court-ordered to take domestic violence perpetrator intervention programs, 9% met criteria for pathological gambling and 17% showed problem gambling behavior—both numbers higher than rates for the general population. (NIH Library of Medicine)

If you’re being abused, reach out for help.

It’s critical that you find assistance for yourself as well as those (like children or aging parents) who cannot help themselves. You deserve physically- and emotionally-safe relationships and environments. Don’t wait to see if your partner will stop gambling or stop being abusive. Don’t wait until the situation gets worse. Find help now.

Call Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster County at 717-299-1249 (collect calls accepted) or Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County at 1-866-686-0451. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

For information on compulsive gambling help resources in Lancaster or Lebanon, contact Compass Mark by calling (717) 299-2831 or by using our website’s help form.

Are you a counselor or health professional?

If you need to locate problem gambling resources to help a client or patient, contact Compass Mark. Our team offers confidential guidance for professionals in Lebanon and Lancaster, PA. We also offer problem gambling training; see Training & Events for info on upcoming sessions. Call (717) 299-2831.

Free Training Opportunity for PA Problem Gambling Competency (CCPG)

Would you recognize the signs a client is addicted to gambling? Would you be able to design a treatment plan that helps someone start down the path toward healing? If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure” then you may want to check out this opportunity. Addiction professionals in Pennsylvania will have the chance to complete the 30 hours of training needed to apply for a Level 1 PA Certificate of Competency in Problem Gambling (CCPG).

Why should you consider this training?

Compulsive gambling has a profound effect on the life of the gambler and his or her family. It fractures relationships, destroys financial well-being, and, in some cases, prompts the gambler to steal or embezzle. The gambling-addicted person may feel like his or her life is being crushed under the staggering weight of lies, guilt, anxiety, or feelings of hopelessness. Nowhere is that more evident than in the statistics regarding suicide attempts among those with the addiction. For example, about 21% of gamblers calling a helpline reported attempting suicide, according to a study from Yale University and the CT Council on Problem Gambling.

Your clients may be struggling with this destructive behavior, which is often called the hidden addiction because it has few physical signs. Several studies suggest that treatment-seeking substance abusers have a high rate of problem gambling behaviors, with rates ranging from 9% to 30%.

The Lancaster, Lebanon, and York, PA addiction professionals who completed this training in 2012 reported that following the first training session they were able to better identify gambling issues in their current clients. Why the shift? The trainees reported they had learned how to screen for and discuss this often unaddressed problem. “There was something magical about witnessing that discussion among the group starting with the second training,” said Amy Sechrist, Compass Mark Certified Prevention Specialist.

PA Certificate of Competency in Problem Gambling Training Details

Training is free, courtesy of a state gambling prevention grant, and is available for participants with existing PA Certification Board credentials.

Registrants should plan to attend all four sessions, which run from 8:30am to 4:30pm each day:

February 25- Problem Gambling for Beginners: The Hidden Addiction

March 7- Problem Gambling: Co-Occurring Disorders

March 19- Problem Gambling: Practical & Essential Strategies

April 8- Problem Gambling: Treatment Design

This program includes:

• 30 hours of DDAP-approved content by trainer Nancy Milliron;

• Continental breakfast and lunch each day;

• A 350-page training manual.

Sessions will be held in the Blair Room at our Janet Avenue, Lancaster offices. (Please dress in layers.) To register, contact Amy Sechrist at (717) 299-2831.