Hope Exists in Florida for Those Struggling with Gambling Problems

April is the National Month of Hope [1] and the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling wants Sunshine State residents to know that hope is a reality for those struggling with difficulties due to gambling. All too often, individuals contacting our 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine report feelings of hopelessness.

Hopelessness occurs when problem gamblers see no way out of their situations, given all access to money, credit and bailouts are exhausted, they are left with substantial debt and in many cases legal difficulties. Hopelessness is exacerbated by the loss of relationships, families, jobs, homes, and lives.  In desperation, problem gamblers call our 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine because they are homeless, living out of their cars, sleeping at their jobs or elsewhere, who express wanting to end their lives because they have lost everything due to gambling.

Problem gamblers have the highest rate of suicide among persons suffering from other addictions and are far more likely to experience suicidal ideation and attempts.   

The term “problem gambling” reflects a range of gambling difficulties, which can vary from serious to severe. According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death nationwide. Among the general adult population, 4% have experienced serious thoughts of suicide, 1.1% have made suicide plans, and 0.6% attempt suicide each year [2].  These rates are substantially higher among problem gamblers.  Research has shown that 37% of those struggling with problem gambling and 49% of those with pathological gambling disorder have suicidal ideations. (The American Psychiatric Association now classifies gambling disorder as a behavioral addiction.) The research further shows that 17% of problem gamblers and 18% of those with gambling disorder attempt suicide [3].

Another important consideration is that for each problem gambler, 9 other people are adversely impacted. So, there are millions of Floridians currently struggling from gambling related problems. An important word in a loved one and recovering compulsive gambler’s vocabulary is hope because it reflects one’s dreams for the future. Hope is a concept one can both see and feel. While the definition of hope varies among individuals, it involves some uncertainty of an outcome and typically concerns matters of importance. However, it is frequently considered a temporary condition that is specific to a given situation and contingent upon a person’s skills or abilities [4].

The 888-ADMIT-IT Confidential and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine provides the hope one needs when in the throes of the addiction with nowhere to turn. In addition to in-person, online and phone supports, 888-ADMIT-IT provides referral services for anyone in the State who is feeling compromised due to gambling. Simply, whether you or someone you know are struggling with an emergency caused by gambling (e.g., financial, mental health, legal, housing, childcare, food, or other challenges), 888-ADMIT-IT can provide meaningful and realistic assistance to help you start your path to recovery.  Most importantly, remember, gambling addiction is treatable for those who seek help. So, again, hope is not only something to aspire to, but is attainable in Florida by healing one day at a time.

For help preparing your game plan, call 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), text (321-978-0555), email (fccg@gamblinghelp.org), live chat (gamblinghelp.org), tap into the 888-ADMIT-IT App (https://landing.appypie.com/888-admit-it), or reach out on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

References

  1. Impact Community Action (2021). Celebrate National Month of Hope This April. Retrieved Celebrate National Month of Hope This April — IMPACT Community Action (impactca.org).
  2. Piscopo, K., Lipari, R. (SAMSHA); Clooney, J. & Glasheen, C. (2016). Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior among Adults: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. SAMSHA, NSDUH Data Review, September 2016. Retrieved Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior among Adults: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (samhsa.gov).
  3. The Guardian (2019). Problem gamblers much more likely to attempt suicide – study. Retrieved Problem gamblers much more likely to attempt suicide – study | Gambling | The Guardian
  4. Dunavold, P. (1997). Happiness, Hope and Optimism, California State University, Northridge, Spring 1997). Retrieved Happiness, Hope, Optimism (csun.edu).

About the Author

Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling