My Recovery Committed Holiday Blogging – Did You Know How Gambling Can Kill You Faster Than Drug Abuse or Alcoholism?

Hello and Welcome All Recovery and Non-Recovery Friends,

 

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“It is that time of year where I am commit to blogging all through the Holiday and New Year so others who may not have anyone at holiday time, they will know that someone does care!

Let us let others know they are NOT ALONE in recovery this holiday season” . . .

Featured Guest Post By: Chris Wright/ The Fix …

“Gambling Can Kill You Faster Than Drug Abuse or Alcoholism.”

“1 in 5 problem gamblers try to kill themselves. Why gambling may be the most dangerous addiction of all.”

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Of all the destructive habits in the world, gambling would seem to be one of the more benign. It doesn’t blow out your liver. It won’t make your nose cave in. Even after the most appalling run of bad luck, you can be reasonably sure that you won’t be carted away, having expired with a mouth full of vomit. No harm done. It’s only money.
You can keep telling yourself this until the moment you kick the chair out from under you.
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For the majority of addictions, how much you spend is regulated by how much the body can endure. There is only so much heroin, cocaine or vodka you can consume before you end up in a hospital or a morgue. Gambling is subject to no such constraints. “The amount of financial devastation you can wreak plays a big role in this,” says Keith Whyte, the NCPG Executive Director. “You can bet $50,000 in a single hand, every minute.”

Suicide rates among gambling addicts are staggeringly high. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) has estimated that one in five problem gamblers attempt to kill themselves, about twice the rate of other addictions. The reasons for this fact are both blindingly simple and impossibly complicated. And the central befuddling fact is this: Gambling kills you because it doesn’t kill you.

Scholars of addiction point out that problem gamblers are subject to a slew of messy contributing factors and associative disorders. “We’ve known for a long time that problem gambling is not a standalone issue,” says Dr. Rachel Volberg, President of Gemini Research, which conducts gambling-related studies. “Problem gamblers are likely to have other substance abuse issues, usually alcohol and tobacco. Depression and anxiety are also prevalent among problem gamblers.”

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In terms of the gambler’s tendency toward suicide, however, these factors serve only to cloud the issue. The most reliable killer of people with gambling problems can be summed up in a single word: debt. Because once negative equity enters the picture, gambling addiction moves into a category of its own.
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A study undertaken in Hong Kong in 2010 found that of the 233 gambling suicides in the city over the course of a year, 110 of the victims had significant debts related to their problem. The majority of these were male, middle-aged, married and employed. Few showed evidence of earlier psychiatric problems. They appeared normal in every way except that they had gambled their way into a bottomless pit.
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It’s tough to put a number on how much debt Americans incur due to gambling: people lie about the problem; the landscape shifts too quickly to keep track. We do know that callers to a Wisconsin helpline a couple of years back claimed an average of $43,800 in gambling-related debts—up from $36,000 the previous year. One study estimated that US problem gamblers owe, on average, between $55,000 and $90,000. Another reported that 90 percent of problem gamblers use their credit cards to play.
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None of these figures, though, get to the heart of the issue like the following passage, which was posted on the NCPG website: “I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to tell my husband that once again we have a major credit card bill on the way. I swore to him that it would never happen again. I believed my vow, especially when I saw how hard he had to work to pay off the last debt I ran up. How can I tell him I’ve done it again?”

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This is where, in terms of suicidal tendencies, gambling addiction leaves the pack. “If you stop drinking, you can still go get a job,” says Whyte. “But once you’ve got a gambling debt twice your annual income, it’s hard to come back from that. In our society, living without money is a lot harder than living without alcohol.”

Gamblers who have landed themselves in debt, then, are no longer simply chasing a high, they are trying to evade catastrophe—as Whyte puts it, “You’re always one bet away from winning everything back.” And, again, there is no limit to the amount of money that can be devoted to this pursuit. Unless the gambler just stops, which is unlikely without outside intervention, the problem becomes compounded with every attempt at a solution. It is the cruelest catch-22.

There was a story in the paper a few weeks ago about a Vietnamese gambling addict who, having been hounded by creditors, dug a hole beneath his kitchen and hid there for two months. There’s a certain symbolic resonance to this story. For people with this addiction, there is an overwhelming urge to vanish, to remove yourself from the world.

There was a story in the paper a few weeks ago about a Vietnamese gambling addict who, having been hounded by creditors, dug a hole beneath his kitchen and hid there for two months. There’s a certain symbolic resonance to this story. For people with this addiction, there is an overwhelming urge to vanish, to remove yourself from the world.

“There’s a sense of stigma and shame,” Whyte says. “A lot of people still don’t understand that you can be addicted to a behavior. People tend to view gambling as a moral failure.” So adept are gambling addicts at hiding this failure, the people around them are often blind to it until the bailiffs come knocking on the door.

As the problem progresses, pathological gamblers become insufferable, riddled with anxiety, anger and paranoia. They tend to be deceitful, manipulative and preoccupied, and always seem to have forgotten to bring their ATM card when they go out. People get fed up with it; it wears them down. And so the gambler eventually finds himself alone—which becomes especially true after the explosive revelation of his debts.

The gambler’s sense of isolation, says Whyte, is compounded by the “vast disparity of resources” devoted to treating the various forms of addiction. “A problem gambler can find it much harder to get help,” he says. “Some people don’t even know it’s treatable.” According to Volberg, fewer than 5% of problem gamblers enter into treatment. Left unchecked, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness proliferate. Very often, gamblers will come to the conclusion that there is only one way out. About 80% at least think about killing themselves.

We have no real way of knowing how many people follow through. Gamblers are, by nature, impulsive and secretive—the ones who leap from a multi-story parking deck after a bad night generally don’t leave suicide notes, while those who do tend to gloss over the reasons for their self-annihilation. Certainly, it’s unlikely that there has ever been an autopsy report that cited “gambling” as a cause of death. Which is not to say, of course, that it wasn’t.
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I will end this post with sharing the reason my book was written and to NOT to start out as a book, it was from reading a small article in my local paper about a woman found in an Indian Hotel Casino room dead from a shot-gun wound to her head. She committed Suicide because her note said she had a bad addicted gambling relapse, and to tell “her family she was sorry.” .  .  .

“Currently Gambling Addiction has The Highest Suicide Rate than any other Addiction.”

 

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Gambling Recovery Advocate

 

Product Details

Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) ~ My Story …

May 14, 2014

Kindle Edition

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I Enjoy Each Year Supporting “Gambling Awareness Month” Along With My Friends At “The National Council on Problem Gambling!”

Hello Gambling Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

 

It is that time of year again for me to help CELEBRATE, EDUCATE, INFORM, and ADVOCATE alongside my friends at The National Council on Problem Gambling to share and raise awareness about problem and addicted gambling!

Being in recovery from addicted gambling myself for over 8 yrs now, these fine people have helped many afflicted by problem or addicted gambling, and have helped many, many families too. So I join them each year, and share in Raising Awareness of this devastating problem and addiction . . . .

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Here is a more about this wonderful campaign and how you can learn more about them on their wonderful website right here: http://www.ncpgambling.org/

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

As you know, problem gambling is a public health issue affecting relationships, families, businesses and communities. During the month of March, we work especially hard to raise awareness about problem gambling. The goal of this campaign is to educate the public and healthcare professionals about the warning signs of problem gambling and promote the availability of help and hope both locally and nationally.

NCPG encourages all stakeholders to Have the Conversation. Most adults gamble or know someone who gambles, and therefore could benefit from basic knowledge of problem gambling as well as programs to prevent gambling addiction. We believe that many who suffer in silence do so because they don’t know why they developed a problem, what gambling addiction is, or where to get help. PGAM helps answer these questions and provides information on what to do next.

So I ask you to go visit and learn how you can get help for those who may have a gambling problem. There is help, and they can recover! I know, I WAS an addicted compulsive gambler for many years. And my addiction did start out as being a problem gambler. There are many factors and can be underlying issues as to why a person turns to gambling addiction in the first place, and even though man programs say we can recover without knowing why we turned to problem or addicted gambling, there is help to know the why’s. It was some of what I had to process along with my gambling treatment.

Many of my friends who visit my recovery blog know some of my story of my past, but let me tell a little of what Gambling Addiction took from me. It took anything that was good and of value in my life! It even almost took my life twice from 2 failed suicide attempts, which to me is more valuable than money! It also took anything I could pawn, borrow, or yes, even steal. All that got me was a criminal record, jail, and more. It took good jobs I was fired from, devastated me and my husband financially, and it even almost took my 25 year marriage. And this is just the tip of the iceberg . . . .
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Now, those who don’t understand addictions, or may not have been ‘touched’ by them, or know a loved one who has?
The number one misconception about gambling addiction, and many other addictions is people think it’s “just our poor life choices we make”, . . . but that couldn’t be farther from the TRUTH. I didn’t wake up one day and say, “I think I will become an addicted gambler today and destroy my life!”

Yes, life is to all of us what we choose to do, and the choices we make, but those are not MY CHOICES, they are the diseased choices I made being entangled in a deep gambling addiction. It’s an illness, and a disease like any other addiction, and not like any other addiction. Parents, did you know currently it’s the addiction with the Highest Suicide Rate? And now reaching our High School Teens & College Young Adults? Did you know many colleges & universities are now offering free problem gambling information and help to students through their Mental Health Services and Health Department?

That is where my good friends at The National Council on Problem Gambling can help! They help others understand about this destructive problem. I know. I visited their site all the time when I was in early and through my recovery for extra support and information. And it is why I help celebrate and share to raise awareness of all they do to help others with problem gambling! Why? Because problem gambling is hurting many people who don’t even gamble. It is hurting those around the person who is a problem gambler, it’s impacting our communities with the ever-expanding casinos popping up everywhere throughout our country, and it is also State Lotteries services and more ways to gamble in all our local communities! Where will it stop?

So lets work together to share hope, share info, and raise awareness about this problem. Together we can change and save lives! Please share your support by re-blogging this on your Recovery Blog Today!
Thank You! And Thanks to my good friends at The National Council on Problem Gambling too!
http://www.ncpgambling.org

Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ My Story of Addicted Gambling & Recovery
http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat-ebook/dp/B00CSUJI3A