Why You Should Pause & Reflect on Your Gambling Habits During Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM)

Did you know that March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM)? It’s a great time to pause and examine your gambling habits. There are a few approaches to help you explore your gambling habits to see if you may have a problem or not. Even if there is the slightest doubt in your mind, about your gambling or that of a loved one, calling or texting the completely confidential 888 ADMIT-IT HelpLine is an easy first step and will be beneficial. You can also explore the FCCG’s website at gamblinghelp.org to learn more about the signs of a gambling problem, and you can also complete a variety of free and fast problem gambling self-assessments. 

“He who covers up his disease can never be cured.” 

Ethiopian Proverb 

Problem Gambling Awareness Month is a nationwide grassroots campaign, held annually in March, that seeks to increase public awareness of problem gambling and promote prevention, treatment, and recovery services. The goal of PGAM is to highlight the need for education, prevention, treatment, and other resources, while educating the public on the facts about gambling disorder.

The FCCG’s PGAM campaign tagline for 2024 is “Shine the Light on Problem Gambling: 888-ADMIT-IT Fills in the Blanks! When gambling becomes a problem, it calls everything into question. For many, the first question is, “Do I have a gambling problem?” Problem gambling is known as the hidden addiction. Unlike other addictions, individuals suffering from problem gambling do not display physical signs. Nonetheless, impacted individuals are often depressed, anxious, and may have suicidal thoughts. They often neglect family and friends, run up large amounts of debt, and may be involved in illegal activity in order to fund their addiction. Whether you are a gambler or a loved one, your next question might be, “How do I get help?” 

Disordered gambling is a diagnosable mental health disease that can be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses (DSM-V) the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s professional reference book on mental health and brain-related conditions. This is the main guide for mental health providers in the U.S. It is listed as a behavioral addiction along with other non-substance addictions like internet gaming disorder, internet addiction, food addiction, hypersexuality, shopping addiction, exercise addiction, and tanning addiction all diagnosable and all treatable mental health diagnosis. 

March 12th is National Gambling Disorder Screening Day 

National Gambling Disorder Screening Day is a one-day event held annually on the second Tuesday of March during PGAM. Established in 2014, Screening Day has included supporters and screeners from Cambridge Health Alliance, Massachusetts and New England, the United States, and around the world. Screening Day has helped identify individuals in those regions who might have Gambling Disorder and should seek further assessment. 

Even if there is no Screening Day event near you, you can complete self-assessments on your own. Looking at what screening tools are used by professionals like treatment providers or medical personnel will give you an idea of the most telling signs of problem gambling. The 3-item Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen (BBGS) is one example, based on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for gambling disorder.

Here are the questions from the BBGS. A “yes” response to any single item indicates potential gambling-related problems and the need for additional evaluation – but note, regardless of your answers, this is not a diagnosis. Only a licensed and certified mental health professional can provide a diagnosis. You can also access the FCCG’s interactive BBGS e-screener here.

  1. During the past 12 months, have you become restless irritable or anxious when trying to stop/cut down on gambling? 
  2. During the past 12 months, have you tried to keep your family or friends from knowing how much you gambled? 
  3. During the past 12 months did you have such financial trouble as a result of your gambling that you had to get help with living expenses from family friends or welfare? 

Did you answer “yes” to any of these questions? If so, contacting the 24/7, Confidential, and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine is the next step. There are hundreds of free resources available for Floridians impacted by problem gambling, whether their own or that of a loved one. You don’t have to do anything to prepare to contact the HelpLine, and every contact is completely judgement-free. You do not need a diagnosis or prescription to contact the HelpLine and receive resources, and it’s never too early or too late to reach out. Treatment is available, and recovery is possible! 

The FCCG’s gamblinghelp.org website also has several free self-assessments: 

Hopefully after exploring some or all of these assessments, you will have a better idea about whether you may have an unhealthy relationship with gambling. Disordered gambling is a progressive disease much like substance abuse, meaning the addiction will get worse over time without seeking help. In other words, don’t wait to seek help and hope, if you are in need or are even just concerned! Call or text the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine and speak with someone who is well-informed about what you’re experiencing and can offer dozens of proven resources for the impacts you may be facing. 

Source link


Random Posts