During National Women’s Health Week, the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) feels that it would be beneficial to the community to shed some light on how problem gambling manifests itself differently in women than it does in men. Our organization is dedicated to lifting the stigma associated with women and problem gambling, so that they can get the help they need without fear or judgement.
A Dwindling Gap
For many years, problem gambling was a disorder that mostly affected men and very little women, but research shows the gap between male and female problem gamblers is shortening.
In fact, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling, women in the 45-to-64 age range actually outnumber men. It’s also important to note that women in this age bracket undergoing lifestyle changes such as a loss, a divorce and retirement sometimes transition their social gambling habits into more serious problem gambling tendencies.
While both men and women are equally susceptible to developing a sports gambling disorder in Atlantic City, a woman’s gambling problem will intensify more rapidly than a man’s.
Escape vs. Excitement
According to addiction therapist Liz Karter, women and men vary in their motivations for gambling and each travel a unique path in their mission to change the underlying distressed psychological state that has led them to gamble in the first place.
Men use the excitement and rush of an anticipated win, which in turn produces a high that helps blur a difficult day or low mood. Women, on the other hand, use escapism to completely zone out until they are in a total state of absorption to relieve and transcend a stressful day.
Lifting the Stigma
The public’s stigma on disordered gambling not only has harmful effects on the mental health of the stigmatized individual, but it also poses a major barrier for those who need treatment.
Women who are seeking help for problem gambling are often impeded, more often than men, due to public stigma. Qualitative studies have suggested that the public’s perception of women problem gamblers is more negative than male problem gamblers, and this perceived view is the number one barrier to entering treatment.
By spreading awareness and offering our support to both women (and men) suffering from a gambling disorder, the CCGNJ hopes to one day lift the stigma.
We’re in This Together
National Women’s Health Week is a reminder to take care of your physical health and mental health not just during this week, but every week. The CCGNJ offers many resources located directly on our website for women and men with a sports gambling or any other gambling disorder in and around the Monmouth, NJ area. There is help; there is hope. Reach out to our team at the CCGNJ today.