Women and Problem Gambling
Problem gambling can be defined as anytime someone’s gambling causes problems in their life. There are a number of special populations with problem gambling due to specific risk factors that put them at a greater risk. Women are one of these special populations because they tend to gamble to escape as a means to cope with their stress.
Women who gamble may be looking to escape the stress of increased responsibilities at work or in their home life, or to escape unresolved grief. Grief can take many forms like the loss of a loved one, dealing with a mental health condition, or feeling as though they’re losing control of the over-abundance of personal and professional responsibilities. Whether looking to avoid stress or grief, gambling to escape can be dangerous.
Gambling to Escape
Gambling to escape can be dangerous because it becomes cyclical, and can quickly turn from social gambling to problem gambling. The cycle of gambling to deal with stress and then feeling stressed due to problems from gambling puts anyone in this cycle on track to struggle with problem gambling. Due to the cycle created by escape gambling, women looking to break this cycle may find it very difficult.
Problem Gambling Warning Signs
Not all women who struggle with problem gambling will fit all typical warning signs or a specific path to problem gambling, but here are some warning signs to be aware of:
- Gambling to escape worry, boredom or trouble
- Thoughts of gambling disrupting sleep
- Gambling longer than planned
- Gambling with more money than planned
- Celebrating good times with gambling
- Self-destructive thoughts due to gambling
- Broken promises to stop gambling
- Personality changes as gambling has progressed
There Is Help
If a woman in your life is struggling with problem gambling, you may want to seek help for yourself. Their gambling may be negatively affecting your relationship, and could even have a possible financial impact. You can seek help through a variety of options from self-help groups like GAM-ANON to therapy and counseling services, who will help you understand the path of problem gambling, and offer support as you and your family recover from this disorder. The best way to identify the available help in your area for yourself, or anyone struggling with problem gambling, is by calling the NYS HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369).
It’s Not a Choice
Remember, problem gambling is not a choice. Anyone who gambles can begin struggling with problem gambling at any time. No one chooses to become addicted to gambling. The most important thing to do if someone in your life is gambling, is to continue to educate yourself with a variety of resources so that you can be there to support her, should she decide to get help with her problem gambling.