To the editor:
March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and the ideal time to begin the conversation about harmful gambling behaviors and treatment options.
For most people, gambling is entertaining and harmless. But for the compulsive, problem gambler, it can cause irreparable harm, such as deep financial loss, unemployment and even divorce. Communities are also affected. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, “the estimated national social cost to families and communities from bankruptcy, divorce, job loss, and criminal justice costs associated with problem gambling is $6.7 billion.”
Signs of a gambling problem include loss of interest and participation in normal activities with friends and families, unaccounted time loss, missing possessions or assets, and changes in attitude and personality. Gambling problems also may be evidenced by neglect of personal needs, such as food, utilities and medicine, secrecy, avoidance when discussing time and money, and depression.
Gambling disorders are treatable, but professional help is needed. Renz Addiction Counseling Center is offering free, confidential gambling assessments at our Two American Way location in Elgin. For information on Renz Center’s problem gambling services, visit www.RenzCenter.org or call 847-742-3545.
Jerry Skogmo, executive director
Renz Addiction Counseling Center, Elgin