March takes us into spring, which for most is a time of promise. For people with a gambling problem, however, it is marked by peril. To counter the barrage of betting and gambling ads that go hand-in-hand with college basketball’s “March Madness”, the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) will observe Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) during March.
CCGNJ’s theme for PGAM is “Be Informed – Be Empowered,” with the philosophy that providing information equips people to make smart, informed decisions to prevent a gambling problem. The CCGNJ will hold numerous events in March to meet those twin objectives such as statewide presentations, weekly webinars exploring a host of gambling issues, as well as maintaining a week-long presence at the State House in Trenton to discuss concerns and raise awareness with state legislators, policy makers and the public.
Problem Gambling is known as “the hidden addiction” because, unlike substance addiction, it has no outward signs of a problem. The CCGNJ continually strives to bring the issue of problem gambling into public view and ensure there are sufficient resources and services for the growing number of New Jerseyans who need them during March and throughout the year.
And remember, if you or anyone you know may have a gambling problem please call 1-800-GAMBLER; we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to listen and provide support, treatment and hope.
Recover Together. Find a meeting close to you.
Gambling disorder – frequently referred to as “gambling addiction” – refers to an almost uncontrollable urge to gamble, despite the consequences it has on one’s health, happiness, or financial security. Activities that involve gambling trigger the brain’s system in much the same way alcohol and drugs do. If left untreated, problem gambling can lead to bankruptcy, imprisonment, or even suicide.
Disordered gamblers can range from military veterans with a gambling problem in Freehold, NJ to elderly folks who spend their life savings on gambling in Monmouth, NJ. Anyone could potentially become a problem gambler; however, there are certain factors that can increase their vulnerability to such behavioral disorders. People with this disorder often use gambling as a respite from the symptoms of mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Others simply have a greater tendency towards disordered gambling due to genetics.
Problem gamblers tend to go to great lengths to hide their gambling activities from friends and family. They may start to act uncharacteristically. Feelings of shame may cause them to lie and jeopardize the trust in their relationships. They might be more irritable, restless, or depressed. Sometimes, disordered gamblers may even resort to fraud or theft in an attempt to cover up or undo the damage they have inflicted on their finances. No matter how hopeless or trapped they may feel, however, recovery is possible.
The CCGNJ can help disordered gamblers recover by referring them to professional counselors. Through therapy, people can get a better understanding of the factors that led to their behavior and develop better coping methods for their urges. We also help problem gamblers find local Gamblers Anonymous meetings in the state of NJ. At these meetings, people that struggle with disordered gambling can open up to each other and share their experiences as they support each other on their path to recovery.
If you or a loved one suspect that you may be struggling with the “hidden addiction,” call or text our free, confidential hotline, 800-GAMBLER. Whether you live in Atlantic City, Freehold, Marlboro Township, Monmouth, or elsewhere throughout the state, help is available. Reach out today for support, treatment, and hope.