The next time you’re sitting in class, take a good look around. Chances are, in a group of 60 students, six of them may have a serious gambling addiction.
While you may view gambling as nothing more than an occasional form of recreation, it can be different for those who have an addiction. Like the use of alcohol, gambling can become a serious issue, especially with college students. Problem gambling is a behavior disorder that can cause serious psychological, financial, emotional and legal difficulties for the gambler, plus his or her family, friends, roommates and coworkers. If not addressed, problem gambling can lead to pathological or compulsive gambling, which is a diagnosable mental health disorder. This is a progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop gambling, “chasing losses,” and an inability to stop gambling despite serious negative consequences.
Statistics You Should Know
- College students are two to three times more likely to develop a gambling problem than adults.
- One in three Minnesotans know someone with a gambling problem.
- Over two million Americans are compulsive or pathological gamblers.
- Depression is likely to occur in 76 percent of pathological gamblers.
Signs of Problem Gambling
- Increased frequency of gambling
- Preoccupation with gambling, at the exclusion of all other activities
- Gambling alone frequently
- Chasing losses with more gambling
- Gambling with money that’s meant for tuition, textbooks and living expenses
- Borrowing money or maxing out credit cards to keep gambling
- Continuation of gambling despite negative consequences such as financial problems, poor grades and/or damaged relationships
Resources are available for you, as well as your friends and family. If you think you or someone you know has a gambling problem, visit a counselor on campus, call 1-800-333-HOPE.
Counseling for gambling addiction is available on the West Bank from Fairview Behavioral Health Services.
More information on treatment—including aid for services—is available from the State of Minnesota Department of Human Services website.