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Help is available for problem gambling

By March 2, 2012

The Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) of the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency is reminding residents that help is available for people who may be struggling with gambling issues.

March 4-10 is National Problem Gambling Awareness Week.

“Gamblers often don’t realize they have a problem,” said Christy White, supervising health education coordinator with ADP. “What starts out as an occasional, fun activity can slowly become a compulsive addiction … one that drains the person of their time, resources and relationships and can lead to other problems such as substance abuse and depression. Getting help is the key to breaking the cycle.”

According to White, warning signs of problem gambling include:

• Losing time from work due to gambling

• Repeatedly promising to stop gambling, yet returning to it again and again

• Borrowing money to gamble or to pay gambling debts

• Lying to cover up gambling activity

Suffering from feelings of remorse or depression due to gambling

• Gambling until the last dollar is gone

The California Office of Problem Gambling Helpline offers free, confidential help over the phone at 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537). The helpline is open 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. Callers to the helpline can receive over-the-phone counseling, referral to a treatment therapist, and information about resources such as Gamblers Anonymous, and other help.  The Office of Problem Gambling has additional information regarding gambling at problemgambling.ca.gov.

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