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When Winning Streaks Turn into Bankruptcy

People who enjoy gambling can choose from a wide variety of options in NJ. Many find entertainment in betting at racetracks in Monmouth County or Freehold. Others relish the thrill of casino gambling in Atlantic City.

Sometimes, however, people find that they’re unable to stop chasing the thrill of a win even when they’ve lost more than they can afford – the number one sign of a gambling disorder. Whether they gamble to get away from a tense home life, to forget about stress from work, or to relieve symptoms of anxiety or depression, they can gradually begin to lose control over their own behavior. If left untreated, their disordered gambling could lead to going to prison, bankruptcy, or even suicide.

But with the proper therapy and support, people can avoid the worst-case scenarios of unchecked disordered gambling. Help is available for problem gamblers in the Meadowlands area, Camden, Woodbridge, and anywhere else in the state. At the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ), we have made it our mission to provide resources that help the public understand disordered gambling and its consequences. We also connect people to numerous programs and services that support problem gamblers in their efforts to recover.

No one should feel that bankruptcy or going to prison is an inevitable outcome of their disordered gambling behavior. Even if their fears come true, however, there is still hope.

A Prison of Both Mind and Body

The behavior of a problem gambler can create a self-perpetuating cycle of financial difficulty. Unable to control their urges to gamble, a disordered gambler may find that they have little money left to pay for rent, food, or other basic necessities. They may then turn again to gambling, thinking that a winning streak could be the solution to their situation. Unfortunately, this behavior usually leads to increasingly negative consequences.

As a disordered gambler’s condition worsens, so does their mental health. Almost 90% of people that struggle with disordered gambling develop further issues: other mental health disorders. They may even turn to substance use to mitigate their resulting anxiety or depression. Alcohol use disorder – sometimes referred to as “alcohol addiction” – and gambling disorder often co-occur.

Without treatment, these individuals could eventually go bankrupt, use a lethal amount of substances, or end up going to prison as a result of drug possession, theft, and other behaviors brought on by their disorder.

Finding Freedom

With a commitment to recovery, anyone can break the cycle of disordered behavior, no matter how hopeless they might feel.

For example, professional counseling can help disordered gamblers identify the underlying causes of their behavior and develop new ways of approaching self-control and mood regulation. Medication may directly address symptoms of anxiety or depression that might have driven them to gamble in the past. Lastly, attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings can help disordered gamblers share their experiences and coping strategies with peers while creating mutually supportive relationships.

The CCGNJ offers programs and services to help residents of the following locations and elsewhere throughout NJ:

  • Meadowlands area
  • Freehold
  • Camden
  • Atlantic City
  • Parsippany
  • Monmouth County
  • Vineland
  • Woodbridge
  • Trenton

Wherever you live in the state, treatment is readily available.

Our Purpose

Problem gambling does not have to be a death or jail sentence. Disordered gamblers can avoid outcomes like bankruptcy, suicide, and going to prison if they seek help. Our programs and services help problem gamblers in Trenton, Vineland, Parsippany, and throughout the rest of the state achieve recovery. Contact us by calling or texting 800-GAMBLER for 24/7, confidential support.

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