Unhealthy gambling is a problem for many in our nation’s military. Nearly 10% of US veterans struggle with disordered gambling, a rate two-three times higher than the general population. Here in Maryland, an estimated 380,000 veterans called the state home in 2018, representing approximately 6% of the total population. Military experiences and post-deployment stress can be attributed to this higher risk of problem gambling and gambling addiction in this population, as well as the abundance of opportunities for veterans and enlisted personnel to gamble.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, recently signed into law, now includes a provision requiring members of the Armed Forces to be screened for gambling addiction. Now is the time to raise awareness and remove the stigma for active Military personnel and Veterans that struggle with problem gambling and gambling addiction.
Problem gambling tends to co-occur with other disorders that have elevated rates among those who have served in the military, such as substance abuse, intimate partner violence (IPV), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and suicide. In addition, many active members of the military do not divulge information about potential gambling problems or seek help and treatment due to fear of facing disciplinary action for seeking help or the shame and secrecy of having a gambling problem out of control.
Back home, Veterans can become susceptible to gambling problems as they experience some difficulty readjusting to civilian life. Gambling can be fun. But for some, gambling can get out of control resulting in financial problems, legal issues, family/relationship conflict and even suicide attempts.
Warning signs that you or someone you know may be struggling with gambling addiction:
-Increasing amount gambled
-Neglecting work and family
-Preoccupation with gambling and money
-Isolation, withdrawal secretive behavior
-Gambling to win back losses (chasing)
-Dishonesty or lying
It is never too late to take the problem out of gambling and seize control of your life.
Call, text, or chat today. There is hope. We can help!