Faces of Gambling Addiction: Lanc. Man Finds Recovery (And How You Can Too)

A Lancaster County man recently shared his journey with gambling addiction, a diagnosable condition that endangered his marriage and his well-being. The Lebanon Daily News (LDN) article, written by Daniel Walmer, details the man’s decades-long addiction to gambling.

The man, Harry, recalls that once in the 1960s he became so involved in a card game that he missed his own birthday party–an event for which his sister had arranged to fly him into Cuba, where she was stationed at Guantanamo Bay.

Over time, the behavior escalated, and, by the mid-2000’s, Harry says he was spending as many as 10 to 12 hours a day in casinos.

Jean Gerdes, a problem gambling prevention coordinator with Compass Mark (the parent organization for this blog), said in an interview for the LDN piece that compulsive gamblers experience psychological withdrawal symptoms, like anxiety, when they stop gambling. The article continues:

Even now, however, people are less likely to be understanding of a gambling addict who says they can’t make a simple bet on a putt at the golf course than an alcoholic who says they can’t take one drink, Gerdes said.

“There’s a lot of shame that goes with it, because we don’t recognize it as a disease,” she said.

As for Harry, he says he realized he needed help for gambling after an emotional breakdown and serious marriage problems. Now he attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings and counsels other people living with addiction.

Warning Signs of Gambling Addiction
  • Lying or acting evasively about gambling behavior;
  • Selling or pawning possessions;
  • Increasingly absent or tardy to work or school;
  • Exhibiting mood swings based on whether they’re winning or losing;
  • Willingness to wager on virtually anything at any time–not just at casinos, racetracks, online betting venues, or sports events.
Problem Gambling Help for Gamblers and Their Loved Ones

Gambling addiction can be treated in Lancaster, Lebanon, and the surrounding areas. Visit our list of Gambling Addiction Treatment Providers.

Help isn’t just for people struggling with the addiction themselves.  If your loved one is a problem gambler, you’ll benefit from therapy too. Like substance addictions, gambling is a family disease that impacts everyone–and not only from a financial standpoint. When you live with or love a gambling-addicted person, you might feel frustration, anger, embarrassment, guilt, or other negative emotions that take a toll on your own mental well-being.

Find your own path through a loved one’s compulsive gambling by contacting Compass Mark at 717-299-2831 or by using our Help Form. We’ll direct you to resources so you and other family members can learn healthy coping techniques and find hope.


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