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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Psychotherapy - Compulsive Gamblers: Beware of "March Madness"

The NCAA Division Basketball Tournament, also known as "March Madness," is just around the corner. March Madness is one of the most challenging times for compulsive gamblers. Sports gambling has become a very popular pass time, especially among college students. Online gambling is a big business. In 2003, online gambling brought in over $5 billion from gamblers, some as young as high school age. High school and college students, who are very savvy about using these online sites, are getting caught up in gambling, and many of them are becoming compulsive gamblers.

Compulsive Gamblers: Beware of "March Madness"

You might think that completing a tournament bracket for $5 or $10 is harmless, but for some people, it's the beginning of compulsive gambling. Just like some people can have a couple of drinks and not become an alcoholic, some people can gamble and not become a compulsive gambler. But for many people, it's just the beginning of a downward spiral on a slippery slope.

What Are Some of the Warning Signs of Compulsive Gambling?
The warning signs for compulsive gambling are very similar to the warning signs for other addictive behavior, but instead of being related to alcohol, drugs, sexual addiction, addiction to the Internet, or other addictive or compulsive behavior, these warning signs are related to compulsive gambling:
  • Preoccupation with gambling: thinking about it frequently, talking about it a lot, checking the stats often
  • Feeling a "high" or "rush" before placing a bet
  • A need to bet increasing amounts of money to get that same "high" or "rush"
  • Repeated attempts to stop that are unsuccessful
  • A need to continue gambling when you're winning
  • A need to return to gambling to chase losses
  • Feeling irritable and uncomfortable when you try to stop
  • Jeopardizing family relationships or your job due to gambling activities
  • Borrowing money from family and friends due to gambling activities
  • Using gambling activities as a maladaptive coping strategy to deal with stress or uncomfortable feelings or situations
If you have one or more of the above warning signs and symptoms, you have a compulsive gambling problem and you need help. Just like any other addictive or compulsive behavior, compulsive gambling is a progressive disorder that usually gets worse over time.

Don't wait to "hit bottom." Find a licensed psychotherapist in your area who has expertise in compulsive and addictive behaviors to overcome your problem with compulsive gambling.

For more information about compulsive gambling, go to: http://www.gamblinghelp.org

I am a licensed psychotherapist in NYC who has expertise in helping people with addictive and compulsive behavior, including alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual addiction, addiction to the Internet, compulsive gambling and other compulsive and addictive behaviors. I have helped many clients to overcome their addictive and compulsive behavior so they can lead fulfilling lives.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me.