Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling
Over the years, more gambling opportunities have become available to us on Delmarva – but, for some people, that can be a devastating problem.
We’re learning about the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling. It’s a program that can help if you or a loved one’s gambling has turned into a crisis situation and the odds are stacked against you.
Mary Drexler, program director, joins us in Historic Studio D to talk about the group. Mary says they help individuals, the community, and treatment providers across the state to understand how gambling can become a devastating addiction. They also do training at treatment providers and public awareness.
Mary says that many gamblers are good liars unfortunately. She says some signs are getting bills such as past due payments. A gambler may lose a lot of money one day and then be back the next day trying to win it back which is called chasing your losses. Maybe an employee is taking a long lunch break, or not showing up to work also. Mary says that person could be very stressed out as well. She says a gambler may get a “high” off of the gambling activity.
A gambling addiction doesn’t just affect the gambler if they have a family. Possibly bills aren’t being paid or the person is stressed out and putting other stresses on the family. Mary says many domestic violence has been linked with gambling issues because of the frustration and anger building up inside the problem gambler.
“Problem gamblers do not reach out for help unless they are at their rock bottom,” Mary says.
Problem gamblers can be treated. Mary says there are different options such as individual or family counseling. Recently, the Center of Excellence has hired peer recovery specialists.
“Some people aren’t ready to go right and talk to a counselor. It can be an intimidating thing.”
Their recovery specialists will work with the problem gambler to help them find resources and even meet them at an appointment to help them get through the first time they decide to get treatment.
The State of Maryland’s Department of Health’s Behavioral Health Administration has provided funding that is now being used to provide no cost problem gambling treatment to the problem gambler and/or their family members. This no cost treatment is for anyone regardless of their income.
If you have a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER. For more information, head to their website.