March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Millions of Americans enjoy betting on their favorite sports teams or playing a hand of cards at the casino. There’s nothing wrong with the thrill of some action. But when gambling behavior gets out of hand, it can ruin people’s lives. There are an estimated 2.5 million problem gamblers in the United States. These individuals have a compulsive gambling problem, and they need help. If they don’t stop their addiction, they could end up in a life-threatening situation. March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) which focuses on individuals with a gambling addiction and getting them the treatment they need.

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

What Is Problem Gambling Awareness Month?

Problem Gambling Awareness Month is a nationwide effort that aims to improve public awareness of the disease. It promotes intervention, treatment, and recovery of the problem in affected individuals. PGAM also aims to encourage American healthcare providers to screen beneficiaries for problem gambling.

The 2024 Theme for Problem Gambling Awareness Month

PGAM has an annual theme that changes every year. In 2024, the theme is Every Story Matters. This theme serves as a reminder that every action and triumph relating to problem gambling and its effect on the community are significant and worth fighting for.

During PGAM, stakeholders aim to share the stories of those who beat or succumbed to their gambling addiction. Therefore promoting community support for the issue.

Together, we can increase awareness, remove stigmas, and reinforce the belief that Every Story Matters when resolving issues with problem gambling.

Look out for the hashtag #PGAM2024 on social media to join the trend of resolving problem gambling in the United States.

Get the Free PGAM Toolkit

Visit the official PGAM website and participate by downloading the PGAM toolkit. The toolkit serves as a conduit to help individuals and organizations assist with raising awareness of this grassroots movement. Fill out the form on the site, for immediate access to the PGAM toolkit.

Gambling Disorder Screening Day 2024

As mentioned, one of the primary goals of PGAM is to get healthcare providers to participate by offering free screenings for suspected problem gamblers. NCPG partnered with the Cambridge Health Alliance Division on Addiction to make the screening process easy to access. The partnership led to the development of the free Gambling Disorder Screening Day Toolkit. PGAM will host National Gambling Disorder Screening Day 2024 on Tuesday, March 12, 2024.

What are the Signs?

Be aware of the signs that someone is developing a gambling problem. Online gambling is as dangerous as any other type of gambling. A person may start small and then begin to gamble with increased amounts of money.

In turn, this causes several adverse mental health effects on the individual. It ruins their relationships with their friends and families.

Here are some of the common signs of problem gambling:

Behavioral Indicators

  • Missing family events
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Lack of self-care
  • Conflicts over money problems
  • Neglects children and family responsibilities
  • Legal issues relating to credit
  • Stealing to cover gambling costs or debts
  • Chasing losses when gambling
  • Prolonged absence
  • Relationship problems

Emotional Indicators

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • High anxiety levels and severe stress
  • Mood swings and prone to anger
  • Restlessness or irritable
  • Boredom when not gambling
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts

Financial Indicators

  • Asking for salary advances or borrowing money
  • Changes in finances
  • Cashing in 401k, RRSP, or insurance policies
  • Swings between having money and being broke
  • Family members complain about missing cash or valuables

Learn more about the warning signs of gambling addiction.

Finding Help for Problem Gamblers

Problem gamblers need to stop their gambling habits before they can undergo counseling. The first step to recovery is to admit the problem and for the individual to accept they need help. A counselor cannot pressure the gambler into quitting their behavior; it must be a self-accepted decision they commit to when they are ready for it.

Problem gambling affects people and their families in different ways. However, the outcome is always the same – it causes distress and sometimes ruins the family unit. When they are ready to admit their problem and need help in recovery, the gambler can reach out to a qualified counselor. There, they can discuss their options and map a path to recovery that’s right for them.

Blue Sky Counseling – Mental Health Counseling Omaha, NE

I, Carly Spring, M.S., LIMHP, LADC, CPC, offer my specialized expertise to assist in the healing process to anyone who may be experiencing and suffering from a vast spectrum of mental health issues. Such mental health issues include behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, grief, loss, trauma, addiction issues, and life transitions. I believe strongly in applying a holistic perspective addressing your whole person not just the bits and pieces of you. Contact us with any questions or to talk with a mental health counselor in Omaha today.