March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month
#HaveTheConversation about an often hidden addiction that affects 80,000 Oregonians
PORTLAND, OR — In a few short weeks, March Madness will reach a crescendo with an estimated $10 billion in bets placed in nationwide on the NCAA basketball championship games. And calls to the National Problem Gambling Helpline will spike an average of 30 percent.
Oregon’s Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, in collaboration with the National Council on Problem Gambling, designates March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month, encouraging people to “have the conversation” about this often hidden and deceptively destructive addiction.
“Unlike substance use disorders, you can’t recognize a gambling habit by public intoxication, or test for it with a urine screen” said Philip Yassenoff, LPCC, Cascadia’s Gambling Treatment Program Director. “But the fact is 8 percent of Oregonians experience some degree of a gambling issue and 2.6 percent have a serious, and likely, diagnosable problem.”
Gambling disorders can have devastating financial consequences and also are associated with depression, domestic violence, substance abuse and suicide.
Spot the signs
So how do you know if a family member or friend is one of the approximately 80,000 Oregonians who needs help for gambling addiction? According to Yassenoff, some common signs that someone is struggling include:
- Becoming restless or irritable when trying to stop or cut down on gambling
- Lying about gambling
- Being constantly short of money, despite adequate income
- Taking out unexplained loans, using payday loans, or asking for loans from friends or relatives
“If you’re seeing these signs, it’s time to encourage the person to talk with a counselor, or to make a call yourself to get advice,” said Yassenoff.
How to get help
Cascadia provides no-cost treatment to individuals with a gambling issue, and offers free services to those impacted by another person’s gambling addiction.
“With gambling treatment and all the programs we offer, we take an integrated ‘whole health care’ approach, as there are often other mental health, addictions and health issues present,” said Derald Walker, Ph.D., Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare President & CEO.
To get confidential help for a gambling problem, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare can be reached at 503-239-5952. For more information about problem gambling and prevention services, and how to have the conversation, visit Cascadia’s website at www.cascadiabhc.org/gambling-treatment.
Problem Gambling Awareness Month is designed to raise awareness of the prevention, treatment and recovery services available for those adversely affected by gambling. The grassroots campaign brings together a wide range of stakeholders – public health organizations, advocacy groups and gambling operators who work collaboratively to let people know that hope and help exist.
About Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare
Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare is a private, not-for-profit whose mission is to provide healing, homes and hope for people living with mental health and addiction challenges. Information on Cascadia’s comprehensive range of innovative, integrated clinical and housing support programs is at www.cascadiabhc.org.
About the National Council on Problem Gambling
NCPG is the national advocate for problem gamblers and their families. NCPG is neutral on legalized gambling and works with all stakeholders to promote responsible gaming. For more information on the 32nd National Conference on Problem Gambling, visit www.ncpgambling.org/conference.
Other statewide resources
You can also call the Oregon Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-877-695-4648, www.opgr.org for confidential help. Read Governor Kate Brown’s proclamation.
ABOUT CASCADIA BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE: Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare is a private, not-for-profit whose mission is to provide whole health care for people living with mental health and addiction challenges. Information on Cascadia’s comprehensive range of innovative, integrated clinical and housing support programs is at www.cascadiabhc.org.