Gambling an Overlooked Addiction in America

Gambling is an issue that is often ignored in the U.S. With so many ways to gamble in casinos and bars and a proliferation of alcohol abuse, many are dealing with a double-edged sword. Convenience stores and mini marts carry Powerball tickets and college students also have a variety of gambling games that are popular with coeds. With this easy availability and all of these temptations to gamble, how do you know when gambling becomes a problem? Making things more complicated is the fact that one in four adults in the U.S. struggles with a mental health condition such as Attention Deficit Disorder, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance abuse or some type of other mental health problem, according to an article in HTR News. While these people are at an increased risk of becoming addicted gamblers, gambling is often a hidden addiction for many. Unlike alcoholics, with gambling there isn’t an odor or slurred speech, yet it can be just as debilitating as an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Studies that look at how drinking and gambling interact often show that those who are drinking are likely to spend more money gambling or make riskier bets. If they are drinking, their judgment will likely change as they become more affected by the alcohol. Compound all of this with winning as they’re gambling and you may see an increase in drinking because they are now celebrating their win. Compulsive gamblers are often looking for that one big win and they believe it will eventually happen if they continue gambling. They simply can’t say “no.” Whatever the addiction, it eventually becomes your priority often leading to money, relationship and health problems.

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