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Problem gambling is any betting, gambling, or gaming behavior that negatively impacts the lives of the gambler and his or her family. A compulsive gambler will bet even knowing the behavior will trigger negative consequences. About 1% of Americans can be diagnosed with a gambling disorder, while an additional 2-3% exhibit problem gambling behaviors.

MRI studies from the Yale University School of Medicine suggest that gamblers with the most severe gaming addictions undergo brain processes similar to those that happen in chemical addiction.

Signs of a gambling problem include:

  • Gambling even when you don't have money.
  • Lying to friends, family, or employers about gambling behavior.
  • Trouble controlling gambling behaviors.
  • Relying on others to bail you out of financial problems.
  • Committing illegal acts, like fraud or embezzlement.
  • Gambling has jeopardized relationships that are important to you.

To fully assess your gambling behavior, check out these screening tools.

Ten percent of children are at risk of developing a gambling problem and 4% already struggle with gambling addiction. Additionally, over 300,000 Pennsylvania adults gamble inappropriately, placing stress on the entire family. Children who struggle either with their own gambling problem or with the problem of a parent may skip school, do poorly on assignments and tests, or engage in criminal activity to get money.

Effective gambling prevention programs develop critical thinking skills, help students understand the mathematics of probability, and strengthen their abilities to connect actions with corresponding consequences. Offering gambling prevention programming raises their awareness and presents them with resources while building their academic capabilities.

Help your students make healthier decisions by learning more about Compass Mark's gambling prevention programs in Lancaster and Lebanon.

Kids can play cards or other games for fun without gambling for money, which is illegal. Children and teens often aren't aware of the risks involved with gambling and may rely on it to cope with stress in an unhealthy way, much like some turn to alcohol or drugs. A child's gambling addiction doesn't just affect the child; it can devastate the entire family, from the dad who discovers his credit card is missing to the little sister who realizes that gambling is more important to her brother than she is.

Unlike alcohol or drugs, most children receive no problem gambling education, in part because gambling is socially acceptable. But kids need to learn more because the earlier he or she starts to gamble, the higher the risk of developing a problem.

Parents and caregivers play a key role in prevention. Start talking now with the kids you love about the effects of unhealthy gambling behavior. Not sure where to begin? Check out this tip sheet for talking to kids, or contact Compass Mark.

Gambling addiction is an often unrecognized issue that can have a direct and negative effect on a business-and its bottom line. The effects are often measured in lost productivity and time, but, for some employers, the consequences can be downright devastating. In one recent case, a New Cumberland woman and her husband stole more than $66,000 from her employer to feed their gambling habit.

The signs of an employee with a gambling problem include:

  • Performing poorly in the workplace.
  • Frequently borrowing money from co-workers.
  • Complaining about rising debt or increasing money problems.
  • Gambling frequently during breaks and lunch.
  • Making false claims against expense accounts.

To locate employer resources to help you manage the problem, contact Compass Mark.

Contact the Compass Mark referral team to find problem gambling treatment in Lancaster County and Lebanon County, PA.

The National Gambling Impact Study found that gambling addiction rates double in populations within 50 miles (about an hour's drive) of a casino. Pennsylvania licenses Off Track Wagering (OTW) facilities, including one in Lancaster County. In 2008, a casino opened less than an hour's drive from downtown Lancaster, making it easier than ever for those with gambling problems to easily access gaming activities.

What's more, online gambling now offers ways to play 24/7/365-without the need to ever leave home. These facilities, which are not based in the U.S., frequently offer "play for fun" games that allow players to use a pretend bank account designed to boost confidence so they'll start betting with real money.

While only the person with the addiction can decide when they're willing to get help, family and friends do have an important tool when it comes to supporting a loved one: an intervention. For more info on how interventions work, visit our Get Help resources.

In the meantime, it's also important to find a support network for your own well-being. Groups like Gam-Anon offer excellent resources for family and friends of compulsive gamblers. Contact the Compass Mark referral team to find Lancaster and Lebanon, PA gambling addiction resources.

Yes! Compulsive gambling is a treatable disorder. For the best chance of success, problem gamblers should work with professionals able to develop an individualized treatment plan. Treatment strategies may include:

  • Support groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous (GA)
  • Counseling
  • Cognitive behavioral treatment
  • Medications

To find gambling addiction treatment in Lancaster County and Lebanon County, PA, contact Compass Mark.

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