Help is Available for Compulsive Gamblers [AUDIO]
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month in New Jersey and state officials say that in order to treat the problem, the symptoms must be recognized.
According to New Jersey Lottery executive director Carol Hedinger, the Lottery has a long-term relationship with the state Council on Compulsive Gambling, and the lottery supports "responsible play" messages that are included on game tickets, and in all advertising.
"It is not the lottery's intention to grow business by creating problems for a few players that become problem gamblers," Hedinger said during a news conference at Lottery headquarters in Lawrenceville. "It's our intention to grow our business through responsible play."
Don Hallcom, director of prevention at the Division of Mental Health within the NJ Department of Human Services, said in order to treat problem gambling, the symptoms of it must be identified. Those symptoms include "gambling until you have no more cash in your pockets, chasing your losses to win back money you lost, growing debts and unpaid bills, needing financial help from others because of gambling, selling personal or family items to finance gambling, and gambling alone and longer than you intend."
Hallcom added that symptoms can also include things such as spending more and more time gambling, and problems at work or in personal relationships as a result of gambling.
Additional symptoms, according to Hallcom, also include "lying to cover up the extent of your gambling, jeopardizing relationships, work or school because of gambling, less productivity at work, increasing marital problems, neglecting family and personal needs to gamble instead, abusing alcohol or other drugs, suicide attempts, trouble sleeping because you are thinking about gambling, and gambling after arguments, disappointments or frustrations."