Compulsive and Problem Gambling
The terms "problem" and "disordered" gambling are encompassing terms which refer to the full range of gambling problems, from mild to severe. The terms "compulsive", "pathological" and "addictive" gambling all refer to a serious mental disorder characterized by out of control gambling resulting in severe negative personal, family, financial, work and/or legal consequences.
The compulsive gambler may be a person of either gender, of any age and from any social, ethnic and economic group.
Compulsive gamblers wager on any form of legal and/or illegal gambling, including the area of business and the financial markets.
High school and college students have a higher rate of compulsive gambling than the general adult population.
An individual who has had a problem with any substance is at a higher risk for developing a gambling problem. The compulsive gambler is often more difficult to identify than the substance abuser.
People with serious mental/emotional disorders (especially depression) have a higher risk for compulsive gambling.
Compulsive gamblers usually deny they have a problem and wait until the situation is desperate before seeking help. Family members are encouraged to seek assistance for themselves and consultation concerning how to increase the likelihood the compulsive gambler will seek help.
- Is gambling the most exciting activity in your life?
- Do you miss school, activities, or other events due to gambling?
- Has anyone expressed concern about your gambling?
- Do you lie to your friends or family about your gambling?
- Do you borrow money to gamble?
- Have you sold personal belongings to get money to gamble?
- Have you stolen from your family, friends, or employer to gamble or to pay back gambling debts?
- After losing, do you try to win your money back by gambling?
- Are you preoccupied with thoughts of gambling?
- Have you tried to stop gambling but can't?
- Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
- Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
- Did gambling affect your reputation?
- Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
- Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
- Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
- After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
- After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
- Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
- Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
- Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
- Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
- Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
- Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
- Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
- Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
- Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
- Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
- Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
- Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?
Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions. Regardless of how many questions you answered affirmatively, if you feel you have a problem, please call call the Counseling and Wellness Center at (860) 832-1926 to setup an appointment with a professional counselor.
Recovery and Treatment
In 1982, the State of Connecticut established the Compulsive Gambling Treatment Program. The program has successfully treated hundreds of problem gamblers and their families.
On January 15, 1998, gambling treatment became available at sites across Connecticut. At any of the Bettor Choice sites, an individualized treatment plan is developed for each client, and may include individual, group, marital, and/or family therapy. Financial counseling is also available. Clients are seen weekly, or more frequently, depending on need. Typically, treatment addresses the following issues:
- Finding hope
- Reducing financial pressure
- Regaining self-esteem
- Coping with guilt, shame, and remorse
- Stopping gambling
- Coping with urges and cravings to gamble
- Developing healthy relationships
- Regaining trust and becoming trustworthy
- Returning to rational thinking
When you call a Bettor Choice site, please indicate a need for help with gambling-related issues.
CT Compulsive Gambling Treatment Center
CT Valley Hospital
Middletown, CT 06457
Additional Site: New Haven
Family Intervention Center
Waterbury, CT 06702
Family Services Association
Norwich, CT 06360
Additional Sites: New London, Old Saybrook
Bridgewater, CT 06752
Additional Site: Danbury
Norwalk, CT 06856
Additional Sites: Westport, Stamford
Plainville, CT 06062
Additional Site: Hartford
Both full and part-time students are eligible for our free and confidential services. You may call us at (860) 832-1926 to set up an appointment with a counselor. Also, you may visit our Frequently Asked Questions page, and What to Expect: Your First Visit to help guide you through the process.
Should you wish to remain anonymous, you can always call a confidential and free Helpline, funded by The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling.
Help is available. Take the first step!