March 2015 is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, a grassroots public awareness and outreach campaign’s goal is to educate the general public and healthcare professionals about the warning signs of problem gambling and to raise awareness about the help that is available both locally and nationally.
The tag-line for this year’s campaign is “Problem Gambling: Have the Conversation”.
DSM 5 in 2013 moved pathological gambling from “Impulse Control Disorder” classification, to Substance Related and Addictive Disorders and renamed it Gambling Disorder. However, gambling often remains an invisible addiction and largely goes unrecognized. There are no smells or track marks that are easily identifiable. We cannot utilize blood tests, urine screens or hair follicles to detect gambling behavior.
During Problem Gambling Awareness month we will be talking about ways to “have the conversation” about gambling and problem gambling across a range of professional and personal settings. Studies have shown high rates of problem gambling (up to 50%) among individuals in treatment for substance use disorders and mental health disorders (up to 20%). In primary health care settings, even very moderate levels of gambling have been associated with increased rates of medical problems such as hypertension, obesity and accidents. Additionally, the research has shown that if unaddressed, these gambling problems decrease