I Welcome Recovery and Wellness Writer, Patrick Bailey. Guest Article About ‘How to Spot a Gambling Addiction’…

I Welcome Recovery and Wellness Writer, Patrick Bailey. Guest Article About ‘How to Spot a Gambling Addiction’…

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Spotting Gambling Addiction and Determining Its Causes. By Patrick Bailey 

Gambling can be considered as a very dangerous kind of vice. To the person engaged in gambling, money is very easy to risk. He is living in an illusion that whatever he gambles now, he can easily get back. In the long run, this mindset can lead to a person’s financial downfall. The truth of the matter is, odds will never be in the gambler’s favor even if its blackjack or poker he’s playing. Gambling is thriving continuously because it’s the house that’s always taking the wins. 

What are the different kinds of gambling? 

Gambling is composed of many different kinds of activities, so this means that there are also many different kinds of addiction-related
 to gambling. The only challenge with gambling is that it’s not evident when a person gets addicted to it. And as opposed to traditional belief, gambling doesn’t end with casinos, cards, or slot machines. It also doesn’t end with gambling or alcohol rehab centersJoining a raffle, betting with friends, or buying lottery tickets are all considered different kinds of gambling.  


Addiction
 happens when the individual already believes that they’re in deep financial mess and that this problem can only be solved by risking that they possess in hopes of getting a bigger sum of money in exchange. Regrettably, this only sends the person into a vicious cycle of wanting to win back what they lost. This dangerous and damaging cycle continues to occur until the person is forced to enter rehab to break the habit.

Another kind of addiction to gambling happens when the individual joins the game and offers to make risky bets just to get that emotional high resulting from placing big and risky bets. These kinds of bets only pay off occasionally. In both circumstances, the individual bearing this kind of addiction should have that innate desire to stop risking and gambling for himself and not merely to appease friends or family members. 


So what
’s causing gambling addiction and when does it become a problem?

There are many contributory factors when it comes to addiction to gambling. One factor here is the desperate need for money. Another factor would be the need to feel high and thrill. Also, it could be because the individual wants the social status attached to the names of successful gamblers or he simply clamors for the entertaining and fun atmosphere of most gambling places.

The sad thing is that the moment the person gets addicted to gambling, the cycle can’t be broken easily. What’s even sadder is the fact that the severe kind of addiction can set at the moment the person feels financially desperate and commits to taking back the entirety of what he had lost in gambling.

And while he can gather 
massive amount of wealth from winning, more often than not, it won’t equal to the amount of money he already lost along the way.  More often than not, gamblers don’t even come close to break even.

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Dispelling Common Myths About Depression

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How do we know if a loved one is getting addicted to gambling?

The red flags and signs that an individual is having gambling problems are pretty similar to the signs of other kinds of addiction that require admittance to treatment facilities. These signs may be one of the following: 

  • The urge to keep his gambling habit  a secret 
  • Experiencing difficulties in managing his gambling habits 
  • Continuously gambling even if he can’t afford it 
  • One’s family and friends express their concern over his gambling habits 


And just like any kind of addiction, the trademark of gambling addiction is the feeling that you can’t stop even if you want to. If an individual feels like he 
needs to gamble one more time, if he is anxious over the thought of stopping, or if he is hiding this from his loved ones, there is a very high chance that that person is struggling with gambling addiction. 

Excessive Gambling and its Emotional Symptoms

Too much gambling usually leads to a plethora of emotional red signs and symptoms. Among these signs are suicidal tendencies, depression, and anxiety. In severe cases, these depressive and suicidal thoughts can actually make the gambler end his life. Losing all you have to gambling can be a very devastating situation and it can easily lead the person to feel totally hopeless. 

Excessive Gambling and its Physical Symptoms  

Since gambling can lead to self-harm, anxiety, and depression, physical manifestations should be seriously looked into. Anxiety and depression usually lead to being sleep deprives, resulting in dark eye circles, acne, weight loss, weight gain, or pale skin. 

Gambling Addiction and its Long-Term and Short-Term Effects  

Gambling can lead to numerous long-term and short-term effects. Addiction to gambling also leads to other kinds of addiction as coping mechanisms especially for people who get easily anxious and stressed out by the act of gambling. As a result, these gamblers can also turn to alcohol, drugs, and other activities to lessen the anxiety accompanying their lifestyle. In these cases, they might need to be admitted to rehab centers.

Apart from the financial, physical, emotional, and psychological damages brought by gambling addiction, it can also cause damage to relationships.
 

If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction or any kind of addiction, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Who knows, one phone call or a rehab visit can save your life, property, and financial future.

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About Patrick Bailey 
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Patrick Bailey

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Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. He attended the University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business and hold a Bachelor’s Degree and resides in the state of Michigan. He writes for several publications and on his Official Website – Patrick Bailey.

Connect With Patrick on Social Media!
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Stark WARNING and Words From Gambling Recovery Experts Now That Super Bowl Is Just Around The Corner and About Sports Betting …

Stark WARNING and Words From Gambling Recovery Experts Now That Super Bowl Is Just Around The Corner and About Sports Betting …

With another Super Bowl and the Biggest Gambling month before and after this event is now upon us …

What does this mean?

Well, for those who may have a gambling problem and now bills passed in some states that legally OK’D online Sports Betting? It could mean they may cross the line into full-blown addicted gambling as Sports Betting has been growing!

Now with recent laws passing for and against sports betting online, but a stark warning from a dear friend of mine and fellow author, Mr. Arnie Wexler. Arnie is one of the foremost experts on compulsive gambling in this country still today and has been helping compulsive gamblers and their families for over 30 years along with his wife Sheila.

Arnie is a certified compulsive gambling counselor (CCGC) and is the former “Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey” for eight years. His wife, Sheila, was a consultant and presenter on the subject of compulsive gambling addiction when they ran Arnie, and Sheila Wexler Associates and now both are retired, except for their advocacy work.

Arnie still owns and runs a National Gambling Hot Line 1-888-LAST-BET, and he can find you help from problem gambling. Heres an essential interview and quotes by Arnie Wexler he wanted me to share about:

The Super Bowl, Gambling, and Sports Betting
“Football’s biggest game offers the greatest temptation to sports gamblers.
And now people can place a bet legally in some states which is more detrimental to compulsive gamblers.” Arnie Wexler explains.

“The Super Bowl is to the compulsive gambler what New Year’s Eve is to the alcoholic,” this from a leading expert on the subject of compulsive gambling and a recovering compulsive gambler himself. According to the National Gambling Study Commission, there are 5 million compulsive gamblers and 16+ million at risk in just the United States alone.

“I have spoken to more compulsive gamblers than anyone else in America and have gotten hundreds of phone calls after playoff games and the Super Bowl from compulsive gamblers,” Wexler says. “Some have spoken about embezzlements, white-collar crimes and destroying themselves and their families. Others were so desperate that they were contemplating suicide. ”

“Over the years, I have also spoken to college and professional athletes who had a gambling problem,” Wexler says. ” Even two players who have played in the super bowl … An NCAA study a few years ago noted that there is a disturbing trend of gambling among athletes in colleges now today. Do you think that these people will get into the pros and then stop gambling? ”

“Compulsive gamblers are very vulnerable during the NFL postseason because they are looking for the ‘lock bet to get even.’ Wexler says. “The media hype juices the gambler and — as this is an impulse disorder — many compulsive gamblers will be in action. And I wonder if any players might have a bet on the games already.”

“With all the games and the media hype about odds and betting lines, there is an explosion of betting on these games,” Wexler continues. “I can’t believe that newspapers carry ads from these so-called handicappers, who are really ‘scamicappers.’ It’s also interesting to note how often the information is incorrect. ”

“Why do you think the NFL gives out an injury list every week?”

“I remember when Skip Ballis, then of the Dallas Morning News, had a gorilla in the Dallas Zoo make football picks for them,” Wexler says. “The gorilla’s picks were doing better than the sports writers. I think the responsible thing to do would be for newspapers, radio and TV shows to carry a public service message about Responsible Betting. ”

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Here is a little more about my friend Arnie and Sheila Wexler:

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He is a recovering compulsive gambler who placed his last bet on April 10, 1968. He has been fighting the injustice of how sports, society and the judicial system deal with compulsive gamblers for 50-years. Sheila is the expert of what the spouse goes through when you live and are married to a Compulsive Gambler. The family perspective so to say.

They both have done and have been on many national news stations like CNN, 60 Minutes, and ABC Nightline. You must give Arnie’s newest book a read as well and is titled “All Bets Are Off: Losers, Liars, and Recovery from Gambling Addiction.” It garnishes over 60+ 5-stars on Amazon and is a fantastic read and insights about this addiction.

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Stop Predatory Gambling

Another Friend of Mine has been to battle many times and continues today with what is being done through legislation and “Predatory Gambling.” That is Mr. Les Bernal  National Director … Les has been National Director since 2008 when the national network grew into the organization of the now  Stop Predatory Gambling . Org

Here is what Les has to say a little about the Finacial Drain on Americans due to Sports and all betting:

How Online Gambling Drains Millennial Finances:

Gambling has been normalized among young people and is an unconscious drain on their cash. The constant temptation of having a gambling app in your pocket leads to a stream of spending that’s hard to control. Phones are distracting enough as it is, whether it is the unanswered WhatsApp messages in your pocket or 200 Instagram pictures you’ve yet to like. Now betting companies are exploiting the iPhone generation’s obsession with our phones to hook us into betting more, and more frequently.

According to Financial Times, more than one-fifth of 18 to 24-year-old’s confessed to gambling in 2017 …

Please go read this full article and learn more: View Original Article 

Les recently spoke to legislators and this link you can watch a quick video of Les speaking about the current stats and the financial drain ALL Gambling is putting on Americans including now legal online sports betting options. It is very powerful and makes your jaw drop when we are looking at now: “The American people are on course to lose $1 trillion over the next 8 years” A Must Watch!

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https://www.stoppredatorygambling.org/the-american-people-on-a-collision-course-to-lose-more-than-1-trillion-over-the-next-eight-years-testimony-of-les-bernal-before-congress/

Mega-Millions Frenzy … Really? A Message From My Friends of The National Council on Problem Gambling. Gamble Responsibly Please.

Mega-Millions Frenzy … Really? A Message From My Friends of The National Council on Problem Gambling. Gamble Responsibly Please.

There will be More Losers Than Winners … 

 

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Mega Millions lottery hits a record $1.6 bln after no winners in Friday’s draw

UPDATE – Personal Note:

Of course, I am NOT rubbing any noses in the fact that last nights Mega-Million drawing HAD no winners.  It just hammers home a wee bit that for those who happened to OVER BUY tickets, it seems today, just a waste of money that could have been better spent on something more fun or constructive.  See, I know there a boatload of people who CAN gamble just for the fun it.  AND?  Many don’t feel or agree that buying lottery tickets if real gambling. Sorry, but it is if you read the ‘definition’ of what the word “Gambling” means:

GAMBLE – The definition of a gamble is a risk.
An example of a gamble is the act of betting that a certain team will win a game.

Gamble is defined as to take a risk, or to play games especially with money for betting.

An example of gamble is to play the slots in Las Vegas.

When you place a bet for money or not as the outcome is uncertain and is a risk? That is gambling.  When buying lottery tickets for a CHANCE to win?  That is gambling.  Now that no one won, just think of those who are Problem Gamblers or even maybe addicted and think about where they will get the money for this next drawing?  Will it be there food money to feed their kids?  Maybe not a pay an important bill like electricity or their heat? Maybe forego a part of their rent or housing money just for a “CHANCE” … Know your ODDS before you risk all that!

No, I’m not a Buzz Kill …Lol.  I WAS an addicted gambler and know this disease and the thinking we trapped into.  It will talk you into doing ALL the above!  Because once gambling has you hooked?  The sickness takes over and we lose ALL the CONTROL.

Don’t waste loads of money for a tiny sliver of hope that you are going to win.  As most times you end at a loss. If you are going to take a Risk, then Gamble Responsibly …  

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Mega-Millions Jackpot Media Frenzy Offers Opportunity for Responsible Gambling Messaging.  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 19, 201

 

WASHINGTON, DC – As the Mega Millions jackpot has reached record levels, the National Council on Problem Gambling urges consumers to protect themselves against excessive gambling and calls upon lotteries and the media to promote responsible gambling messages.

Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, states, “The media and consumer interest in high lottery jackpots creates an opportunity to provide responsible gambling messages designed to help people who choose to gamble make informed decisions about their play.”  Responsible gambling efforts should be made by lottery operators and players alike.

Here are four simple responsible gambling tips to know and share:

– Set a limit of time and money spent gambling.

– Don’t gamble to escape feelings of anxiety, stress or depression.

– Know where to get help for a gambling problem.

– Minors are prohibited from most forms of gambling.

“Lotteries play an important role in reminding retailers and players about the minimum age to play and in educating their players about simple steps to promote responsible gambling.”

State lotteries and media are asked to incorporate responsible gambling messaging and the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) into their upcoming promotion and coverage of the Mega Millions jackpot.


The National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700
or www.ncpgambling.org/chat) is the single national point of access to problem gambling help. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in all 50 states. All calls are confidential and offer local information and referral options for problem gamblers and their families.

In 2017 the Helpline received 233,000 calls, an average of one call every two minutes.

 

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About the National Council on Problem Gambling

NCPG is the national advocate for problem gamblers and their families. NCPG is neutral on legalized gambling and works with all stakeholders to promote responsible gambling. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or text the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat for confidential help.

 

 

Recovery Thoughts About a Little of Everything …Family, Support, and Of Course, Gambling Addiction.

Recovery Thoughts About a Little of Everything …Family, Support, and Of Course, Gambling Addiction.

 Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Visitors Happy 4th of July Week!

First I want to start by saying it has been too damn HOT here. It is the worst time of year to be living in Arizona lol. And why it’s called “The Valley of The Sun.”

We will be hitting 110 today. That is even too frigging hot to sit by the pool unless you want to get a Burn Up Suntan …Lol. Maybe I would like it more if I was 25 again but at 55 and taking meds, I just can’t tolerate the the heat like I used to.

It’s why I can not wait to move back to Oregon next year on the coast. 

So, I have been having some “happy times” flashbacks lately as we get closer to the 4th of July. Have no idea why or where it’s coming from. The Fourth was always an interesting day and evening around the “Townsend Family” home as we would always have a BBQ and light fireworks. This is when I still lived at or near home in So. Cal. We would do fireworks for my nephews as they were young at the time, and the adults would act a little cray-cray right along with them! Their dad, Mike, (my brother-in-law who we lost in 1992 to cancer) was a hoot! He was crazy about fireworks! Those were the “good old days.”

But as the dysfunctional family that we were many times, alcohol abuse seemed to ramp up closer to the evening after dinner. Waiting for it to get dark, we’d let the little ones do sparklers and Mike would dazzle my mom with some spinning flower bloom fireworks. My mom got a kick at of those! One time Mike put the flowering blooms and lit a couple in my parents’ mailbox so they would fly out, spin, and they hit the ground. LOL! That didn’t work out well as it blew up the mailbox so Mike had to buy my dad a new one and help dad put up. Lol.

Yes, there were many fun times to be had through the years. Now, remember, this was way before addiction had ever touched my life. But as we had fun, the alcohol consumed by Mike, Dad, my sisters and brother, the end always seemed to end up in some sort of argument and fight as my mom didn’t drink, but she loved to chime in and piss them off by verbally making fun or yelling at them that they were a bunch of Fu_  ing idiots! Then my dad and brother would get mad at her and we’d be off RUNNING!!

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It seemed almost all our family gatherings would end up this way. Day trips, camping trips. Sad really. No one in my family who drank alcohol had NO Control over it or when knowing when to stop drinking. This went on for many years. Today, my two sisters I feel are alcoholics, but they would say different. My oldest sister after Mike passed even racked up some DUI’S from drinking alcohol and driving. Which brings me to family, support, and fast forward to today. When my mom passed in 2003, my brother decided to open his new home and have relatives and friends come over to celebrate my mom’s life after the funeral.

And, again, early afternoon the alcohol began to flow. He had a pool, so many of us went swimming, and in the evening we hung out in the hot tub into the late evening they were still drinking. We were down to myself, my husband, my dad, brother and his wife, one sister and her hubby, and my older sister (single) and her boys now grown. Well, my sisters began to get a little rude and lippy and my brother chimed in. I and my hubby knew it was time to go, and we took my dad with us. Not till the next morning, we found out there were a few words spewed, pushing and things got a bit physical and the police were called.

Long story short, my brother and his wife divorced a few weeks later. My dad stopped talking to my brother. We just buried my mother and again our family is torn apart. This was a habit and behavior my mother carried on for years. If you didn’t do what she said or what she wanted, she would cut you out and stop talking to you. Life is to short for this and I would tell her so.

But she would just come at me verbally with things like “why do you think you are better than we are? or what makes you so special, I’m still your mother and can say whatever I want and like it.” Yes, my mom did NOT Like It when I set my boundaries. I guess I should back up a little. She knew how to get under my skin when I first began recovery.

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Tackle Childhood Trauma 1

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When I was a little girl born in New Jersey and lived until 6 1/2 then we moved to So. CA. My mom was a heavy-handed disciplinarian when my dad was gone overseas in Vietnam while stilling living in Jersey. Now, this is hindsight and connecting the dots and learning from the years of therapy and counseling in treatment that brought many old hurtful memories of my childhood back in order to process it, let go and forgive myself.

Growing up through the years, my mom and dad said many hurtful things to me and for some reason they lingered and just stuck inside me. When I got to my teens, I never could understand why she was like this to me. As I look back, since I was the baby of the family at the time, my daddy used called me his “little monster.” A nickname that later in adulthood hit me like a brick when my mom told me about these outbursts I’d have when I was little.

She was never like this or treated my older brother or older sister like she did me. She would say I told lies, I was an ugly tomboy, I didn’t love her or our family, I can’t be their kid and must have been switched at birth in the hospital and I can go on. I can remember times I would through tantrums I would not remember afterwards, she’d lock me in my room and I’d go crazy pulling out my drawers, clothes, pull the curtains down and then? …when it was over I would lay on the floor watching their feet walk back and forth between the space of the door and floor as they passed my locked door.

I think my mom just didn’t know what was wrong or how to control me when these came on. AND? It’s why I had agreed in 2002 with my Primary Doctor and Psychiatrist when first diagnosed with severe depression, mild bipolar and mania, anxiety after my first suicide attempt. I went undiagnosed for years until adulthood! And why I feel the way my parents raised us seemed to seep down into me so deeply.

I know this because as I grew into adulthood and finally disclosed all of what happened to me as a child when we first moved to So. Cal. I was sexually abused by not one, but two men from 8 to 11 years old. At age 30, in 1992 I was having a break down about all of it right after Mike died of cancer. That was before gambling addiction, but my first of many attempts at therapy for help. In order to begin the process of healing, as my therapist told me, “I had to disclose all to my parents, it’s time.” I told my parents and I felt abused all over again as they denied it, my mom very defensively said “I was making it up. My mom said she would have known if that was happening to me or happening in her house.”

My point in sharing all this? The good memories and the BAD? Since at this point I never got to finish my therapy with the therapist because I was embarrassed and ashamed of how my family took all of what I shared about, not only the sex abuse but also how those memories of the verbal and physical abuse by my parents hurt me as well.  It was then that more something changed with relationships with my dad, two sisters and brother became strained.

I think they all thought I was nuts or something. My mothers’ answer was, and her comments to me stayed with me and ended up giving me my “entitlement feelings” and added fuel to my gambling addiction when I later got entangled, abused alcohol, and crossed the line into addicted gambling. She told me:

“I don’t know why these things are bothering you when they don’t seem to bother my kids?”

I was speechless and kept hearing that in my head for many more years to come. Now, of course, here we are today and my all my siblings have had problems with broken marriages (my brother) drugs, alcohol, anger problems and nothing bothered her other children as I had become an addicted gambler. Today I now know most of my underlying issues and roots to why I turned to gambling addiction. Most of the above shared because I walked away from my first attempt of therapy racked with guilt and shame, I used gambling to ‘cope, numb out, hide, not feel, and get my anger out as I was enraged and destroying my life in the process.

“I wasn’t “getting back” or hurting them, I was sabotaging and hurting myself and my husband.”

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20171208_171651(My nephew Mark Lake and his beautiful family)

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I am happy to share that a few weeks before my mother passed away in August of 2003, I was able to call her twice a day every day until my dad moved her into nursing and rehabilitation after she became ill and off life support as she began to recoup. The family said there was no phone in her room so I could not call her anymore.

My mother and I talked about so many things before she passed. We made amends, she had apologized that she wasn’t there for me when all that was happening to me and for all of it, even my feelings around the verbal and physical abuse. She said “we were not born with a book or guide to how to raise kids.” She and my dad did their best, as she also spoke of how she was raised and learned some of it from her father.
I sure understand this still today …

Again, some points to as to why I am sharing these memories:

Many of us do have underlying pain and old haunting or issues that come from many different areas that need to be addressed. They need to be processed so we don’t use Addiction to try to cope or just try to not feel and forget. We stuff it down deep. It will at some point come back. As many are raised to know seeking out help is OK. There is nothing wrong with sharing how you feel, be it in therapy, counseling, and even in treatment, they know learning those roots and unprocessed events can help addicts be more successful maintaining recovery.

PARENTS: Be wise about how you discipline your kids. Children just want to be and need to be heard. They do want to communicate with parents without fear. I felt this way about always about the thought of talking to my own dad! You may still tell no, but please listen and talk with your kids, teens, and young adults. I feel if you don’t, if a child is being bullied, teens experimenting with drugs or alcohol, this also opens the door to what we are seeing now with too many SUICIDES.

As a trauma and child sex abuse survivor,  we have to learn it was NOT OUR FAULT that these terrible things happened to us. We need to process this and learn to forgive ourselves and begin the process of healing. We lose so much self-worth as a human being when we don’t. It could lead us to addiction, to self-medicate, and again, contemplate suicide.

For The Public: We need to come together and have more compassion and empathy for others who struggle with addictions, mental illness, and recovery. We never know one’s story. It is time to come together and learn how you can help shatter STIGMA around all the topics I shared about. Did the past pains hurt more because I had undiagnosed mental health issues which made my feelings more heightened?  Most likely. We need to help teach the public how to stop making us feel like victims filled with guilt, shame, or made to feel embarrassed or different when we disclose our feelings. Just because some are not as normal or as emotionally strong as other people, doesn’t make us different.

Well any of this sharing help stop addiction? Maybe or maybe not. But I can sure try by sharing my memories, truths, and my life story as I did in my memoir.  It is one of the ways for me to advocate and help raise awareness, help educate and hopefully to begin to shatter stigma. Thanks for taking time to read my journey and memories!

Catherine 

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Guest Article Share by SoberRecovery That Addresses – Is Addiction a Choice, a Disease, or Both? By Caitlin Thiede

Guest Article Share by SoberRecovery That Addresses – Is Addiction a Choice, a Disease, or Both? By Caitlin Thiede

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

This topic has been a question and debate that has been around a long time. Do addicts make the choice to destroy their lives? Or is addiction really an illness and disease? Or is both? When I visit other addiction/recovery websites and online magazines to be informed, educated, and learn more about recovery, I seem to find some engaging articles.

Since my own addiction I maintain recovery from, this question always seems to get a lot of comments because gambling addiction is still so underground. The action of gambling is still seen in the light of “just a few hours of fun and entertaining,” so how could an activity like this produce addicts? Part of that comes from Stigma. I can tell you I have read a lot of negative comments from people I assume have never been touched by a gambling problem or know someone with one. So you won’t seem to receive empathy or understanding from someone like this.

It is why I write, blog, and advocate. I want to change the landscape around and the conversation that needs to begin about addicted gambling. Addicted compulsive gambling doesn’t happen over night. Just like many other addictions. But it is time to bring it into the light and out of the shadows. So let’s read this article and learn if addiction is a choice, a disease, or both …Catherine

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Addiction is claiming the lives of people at an alarming rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 33,091 deaths from opioids in 2015. This number is largely reflected by an increasing use of synthetic opioids and heroin.

The Clean Slate

After going through 12 Step Processes and other recovery treatments to eventually overcome addiction firsthand, Steven Slate, who authored an addiction site named “The Clean Slate,” is starting new conversations on how we approach addiction. Slate is most famous for his TED Talk speech on “Addiction Is A Choice.” Through the TED Talk and his organization “The Clean Slate,” he is advocating a deeper look beyond the age old debate of addiction as a disease vs. addiction as a choice.

Slate’s website states regarding the addiction as a disease theory:

“On the issue of ‘addiction,’ you will change it when you cease to believe that heavy drug and alcohol use is your best option for finding happiness. Work on changing that belief if you want to change your habit.

Believing in the ‘underlying causes of addiction’ (and/or ‘self-medication’) model creates a more complicated problem. If you invest in this idea, then every time life sends a problem your way, or when you feel the very normal emotions of sadness, depression, stress, or anxiety – then you will feel as if you must use drugs and alcohol. If you cease to believe that heavy drug or alcohol use is your best option for happiness then you will cease the heavy use of drugs and alcohol – regardless of whether you continue to face depression, stress, anxiety, etc.”

His site continues with the answer to a challenge his “choice” theory often faces:

“You say addiction is a choice, so what do you suggest people do, use willpower to quit?
‘Addicts’ have no less or no more ‘willpower’ than anyone else. Every behavior that every person makes at any given time is, in a sense, an expression of willpower. … Essentially, if you choose to think differently about drugs and alcohol, and about how they fit into your life and competing goals, then your desire for them will change.”

Although this may sound outrageously optimistic to some, Slate’s perspective on the issue is relevant to every psychiatrist, doctor, clinician and addict who may be in treatment. His site poses (and answers) the most important question of all—is our approach towards diagnosing addicts making them feel empowered or leaving them feeling powerless?

Pros & Cons of Each Viewpoint

When researching articles of addiction as a disease, it accurately argues the brain’s physical changes in response to a drug. Addiction is the malfunctioning of brain and nerve endings due to excessive dopamine levels. A normal brain would respond “happily” to pleasurable things such as good food, healthy relationships, and rewarding experiences. However, an addicted brain sends signals to nerve endings that there is something wrong. What would trigger “happy” feelings for a normal brain is no longer enough for the addicted brain.

The pros of the “addiction as a disease” argument is that it circumvents the demonization of the drug user. On the other hand, this judgment can also lead to addicts indulging in self-destructive behavior because they feel there is something innately wrong with them. This viewpoint also sends messages that addicts are at the mercy of something bigger than them, and it may leave them feeling like a helpless victim stuck in a never-ending cycle.

Alternatively, the “addiction as a choice” viewpoint rightfully defends the addict as a person of will. This attitude translates into empowerment, and can boost the user’s confidence and self-esteem as they conquer the most unfavorable circumstances, symptoms, and mindsets. On the down side, this outlook can encourage a lack of compassion for addicts because they “could have done better.”

The Verdict

All arguments aside, this ongoing debate concerning addiction highlights a significant flaw in our system; rallying for a label may be prioritized above rallying for the success of an individual. Instead of focusing on why someone becomes an addict, we need to redirect the conversation to how an addict can heal. No matter why or how someone gets to this point in their lives, our only job as professionals, friends and family is to love them unconditionally. Of course, not to judge their choices or debate the root of their addiction. If you or someone you love is an addict, remind them that they aren’t alone.

PLEASE Browse There directory of treatment centers to find one that may be a good fit, or call 800-772-8219 to speak to a treatment specialist today. You can also subcribe by visiting here at SoberRecovery!

Today I Am Honored To Have Author, Rev. Dr. Kevin Coughlin Sharing About “Teens and Gambling.” Listen Up Parents

Today I Am Honored To Have Author, Rev. Dr. Kevin Coughlin Sharing About “Teens and Gambling.” Listen Up Parents

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends and Warriors,

 

I am very excited and honored to have my good friend, fellow author and “Addiction Recovery Expert,” Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin, Ph.D., DCC, DDVA, DLC, DD, NCIP, NCAMP, IMAC, with us today. He has written a new article for us about how teens are having problems with and now becoming addicted gamblers. The many types of gambling options and venues are growing along with expansions of casinos happening everywhere, it has now reached our teens and college-age kids. But before we get to Kevin’s article, let’s learn more about this Addictions Expert!

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About Kevin The Author, Advocate, Reverand, and Expert!

Kevin Coughlin is a Best-Selling Author and Award-Winning Poet who has dedicated his life to helping others. Through Education, Awareness, and Prevention Rev. Coughlin has helped thousands of individuals who were afflicted with the disease of addiction, their families, and loved ones. He has trained hundreds of professionals in the addiction recovery industry and in the professional coaching arena. He has decades of life experience, education, work-related experience; however, perhaps the most valuable information that Rev. Dr. Coughlin possesses that sits atop of his incredible resume is wisdom.


Reverend Dr. Coughlin was a Founder and Board Member of New Beginning Ministry, Inc., a twelve-step residential addiction recovery program for adults, he served for two decades. Rev. Coughlin has helped thousands of individuals and their families to change their lives over the past twenty plus years. With over forty plus books under his belt, he has developed over a dozen manuals and curriculums for both live classes, webinars, and self-study classes on professional coaching, addiction recovery, ethics, and other subject matters.


He has published thousands of articles as a blogger, guest blogger, ghostwriter, and professional writer. Rev. Kev has written as a Blogger/Writer for ‘The Sober World Magazine,  Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Sober Services, Inc., Contentwriters.com, Fromaddictict2advocate.com, Twodropsofink.com, RecoveryView.com Online Journal,’ and for small press, newspapers, magazines, websites. He has been seen on many major media networks of NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox. He is a two-time World Champion and nine-time National Champion State & National Record Holder Power Lifter, a gentle giant who has championed many in his career. He lives Beach Lake, PA with his two doggies

 

 

The Key to Pathological Gambling Treatment … By Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.

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The Key to Pathological Gambling Treatment is the Brain; however, is our nation aware of the storm that is headed directly at our teens?

Alcoholism, substance use disorders, and process addictions, or behavioral addictions such as pathological gambling may affect the brain in the same way, according to some experts. Research at Imperial College London has identified two areas of the brain that scientists believe cause pathological gambling. The study showed that the connections in the brain responsible for impulse control may be weaker in problem gamblers. Other studies have demonstrated that 78% of Problem Gamblers had an alcohol problem, 38% had a drug problem.

Pathological gambling usually begins in early adolescence in men, and between ages 20 and 40 in women. With pathological gambling, occasional gambling leads to a gambling habit. Stressful situations can worsen gambling problems. Just like alcoholics and drug addicts, pathological gamblers often deny they have a problem or need treatment. Most pathological gamblers only get help when they are found out and pressured by family and friends.

 

“Gambling addiction can have a devastating effect not just on patients, but also their families.” – Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic and Imperial Research team.

 

This new research identifies keys area of the brain and will help to develop targeted treatments to help prevent cravings and relapse. When pathological gamblers experienced cravings, the researchers identified two areas of the brain that became highly active were the insula and the nucleus accumbens, located deep within the brain and key to decision making and reward and impulse control. These are the same areas of the brain that have been previously linked to substance abuse and alcohol addictions. The Imperial study was carried out using nineteen problem gamblers and nineteen healthy volunteers.

MRI scans were utilized to monitor the brain activity of each individual as they were shown pictures of gambling activities; they were then asked to rate their cravings when they viewed each image. The experts found that the insula and nucleus accumbens were highly active when the problem gamblers experienced cravings when shown the images. The experts noticed a weakness between these two areas of the brain, known as the frontal lobe, which helps individuals make decisions.

The frontal lobe could be key in helping to keep the insula in check and controlling impulses. This same type of weakness in the frontal lobe has been identified in substance abuse research. The frontal lobe also can help control impulse, so it makes sense that a weakness here may contribute to individuals being unable to stop gambling or ignoring negative consequences of their actions when gambling. Recently the Surgeon General has defined addiction as a chronic brain disorder that has the potential for both recurrence or recovery.

Research in neuroscience suggests that the process of addiction is a three-stage cycle: binge/intoxication, followed by withdrawal/negative effect, and then finally preoccupation/anticipation. Progressively, the cycle will worsen and become more severe with continued abuse. Changes in brain function are dramatic and reduce the ability to control the addiction.

There are disruptions in the basal ganglia, the extended amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex that enables cues to trigger substance seeking, heighten activation of stress systems of the brain and reduce brain sensitivity systems in the experience of reward and pleasure, reduces systems that control decision making, actions, emotions and impulses, known as the executive control systems of the brain. People are motivated to continue their addictions by euphoric or pleasurable feelings, despite the risks and negative consequences involved. Continued misuse of substances causes progressive changes in the structure and function of the brain called neuroadaptations. These can produce continued cravings that can lead to relapse.

The Imperial research was conducted using MRI studies, an MRI shows the physical anatomy and structure of the brain. Dr. Amen uses SPECT brain imagery which shows how the brain works, blood flow and activity. Dr. Daniel Amen from the Amen Clinic is one of the leading Doctors in the world of brain imagery and understanding changes in the brain. He has been involved in over 125,000 brain SPECT scans which look at blood flow and activity in the brain.

Dr. Amen’s research has shown that addiction changes the brain, emotional trauma can be distinguished from physical trauma, the brain can improve, everyone’s brains are not affected the same way, and that past brain trauma can lead to addiction and many other things. Dr. Amen’s research also showed that marijuana smokers had lower blood flow to the brain and lower brain activity than non-smokers.

Dr. Amen says:
The brain SPECT imaging helps to:

• Breakthrough denial

• Determine if there are co-existing conditions requiring treatment

• Increase treatment and recovery program compliance

• People realize that addiction is a brain disease, not a personal weakness or character flaw

• Patients gain a better understanding of their brain through visuals

• Determine if treatment is working correctly
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There are six different types of addiction-prone brain patterns.

Type One is Compulsive Addicts, Pathological gambling would fit type one. Individuals tend to get stuck or locked into one course of action and don’t see the options they may have. Most commonly, this type of brain SPECT finding shows increased anterior cingulate gyrus activity, which is usually caused by low serotonin levels.

Type Two is Impulsive Addicts, the most common finding in this group is low activity in the prefrontal cortex, likely due to low levels of dopamine. The PFC is involved in judgment, impulse control, planning, follow through, decision making, and paying attention. This type is often seen with ADD and ADHD and is more common in males.

Type Three is Impulsive-Compulsive Addicts SPECT scans here tend to show low activity in the prefrontal cortex, likely due to low dopamine and too much activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus likely due to compulsivity and low serotonin. Common in children and grandchildren of alcoholics.

Type Four Sad or Emotional Addicts, individuals with this type often use alcohol, pain medications, marijuana, or food to medicate underlying feelings of depression, loneliness, and boredom. Common in women, can worsen in winter. Typical SPECT findings here are increased activity in the deep limbic system and low activity in the prefrontal cortex.

Type Five are Anxious Addicts, people of this type tend to use food sleeping aids, marijuana, alcohol, and painkillers to medicate underlying feelings of fear, anxiety, tension, nervousness. More commonly seen in women, this type seems to suffer from physical symptoms of anxiety. People with this type tend to be extremely shy, predict the worst, and easily startled. SPECT findings here: too much activity in the basal ganglia, likely due to low levels of GABA.

Type six are Temporal Lobe Addicts, people here tend to have problems with memory, learning, mood, and temper. Abnormal activity in temporal lobes is usually due to past head trauma, infections, lack of oxygen, exposure to toxins, or can be inherited. SPECT findings decreased activity in the temporal lobes and at times excessive increased activity. Even though the six types have some commonality of symptoms, each type has its own set of symptoms and specific treatments.

Dr. Amen says, “One size does not fit all: what works for one person with an addiction may not work for another or could even make the symptoms worse!”

 

New data just released by the National Annenberg Risk of Youth by Annenberg Public Policy Center of The University of Pennsylvania – reports some startling news! They have been tracking the gambling of young people ages 14 to 22 since 2002, based on the data’s most recent estimates, approximately 850,000 males ages 18 to 22 gamble online at least once a month, 357,000 males between ages 14 to 17 gamble online at least once a month. Weekly use of internet gambling sites for the 18-22 age group increased from 2.3% in 2005 to 5.8% this year, a statistically significant increase.

Professor Nancy Petry of Psychiatry at The University of Connecticut’s Center for Gambling Research and Treatment stated that with the rise in online gambling among our young people, comes a greater danger of addiction. In a recent study, Professor Petry found that internet gamblers were more likely to have serious gambling addiction problems than other gamblers.

“Teen gambling is the fastest growing addiction today. Approximately one in eight of the eight million compulsive gamblers are now teenagers.”
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When you look back over the past fifteen years there were virtually none. 80% of all teenagers gamble in some way and 15% are problem gamblers. Dr. Jeremiah Weinstock, an expert on teen gambling from The University of Connecticut, believes that between 4% and 7& of all teenagers suffer from a gambling addiction that involves clinical depression, huge debts, disruption of relationships, and/or involvement with organized crime. David Robertson of The National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling said, “Teenaged gambling, like alcohol and drug abuse in the 1930s, it’s the fastest growing addiction. It’s pernicious, it’s evil and it feeds on the weakest.”

It’s an exciting time in the addiction recovery field with all the advances in neuroscience, technology, treatment, recovery coaching, and aftercare. It’s clear that brain health is as important as any other part of the body, perhaps more important. It also seems clear that not everyone is the same and testing like SPECT imagery can help treatment professionals know how to best help each individual. The key to treating Pathological gambling is the brain; you can bet on it! It’s also a time of great concern for our young people who are already battling substance abuse and now may be headed directly into the eye of the unpredictable raging storm of Pathological Gambling!

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“I Did Not Choose to Become a Gambling Addict”…

“I Did Not Choose to Become a Gambling Addict”…

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends and Hope Seekers,

So, within only 3 months apart, it happened again! It is pissing me off when those who have NO CLUE about any addiction or about recovery, let alone a gambling addiction nor have been “touched” by it, or know anyone with one or even a family member has. See, I happened to write about this before 3 or so months ago.

So I wanted to vent and share a little more about this as Gambling Addiction is a real disease, people! It does happen, and I am tired of others commented to me that when we advocate we are demeaning others who have real diseases like cancer, diabetes, and others.  When will people wake up and see how bad addictions of any kind are running rampant and killing many each year.

“I surely didn’t wake up one day and choose to devastate my life and my husbands’ life and become an addicted gambler.”   ~Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

Recently I read a few comments on Twitter after I tweeted about my gambling addiction and maintaining recovery. It was also about living in the “now” and a well-balanced recovery journey. There are many myths and misconceptions about this disease, the silent killer, and underground addiction. One of which was I chose to become an addict. Really? Did I decide to devastate my life for a few hours of addicted gambling?

Did I choose to bankrupt my husband and me financially? Did I want to end my life by choice because I was hopelessly addicted? No! Gambling addiction is real and is a real disease. It is the #1 addiction claiming lives by suicide over all other addiction. Currently, 2.9% of the population are now Problem Gamblers. It is now “touching” our seniors, high school, and college-age kids.

When I began Gamblers Anonymous meetings, I’d hear others say; “Hate the addiction, not the addict.” We are dealing with an illness and tricky beast. That is true with all types of addictions. As Robin Williams was quoted back in the mid 80’s about addiction and recovery; “There’s no shame in failing. The only shame is not giving things your best shot.” That is what we need to do when coming out of treatment and begin our new path away from addiction. We need to look for other ways to replace the time spent gambling, using drugs and alcohol. Robin Williams also said; “It’s [addiction] — not caused by anything, it’s just there, It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK.”

Now, this could not be truer when I look back at my early recovery. We are so broken and riddled with many triggers and urges starting the path called “recovery.” We have no way of knowing how to take charge and own it. Owning one’s recovery, in my opinion, is being real, being honest, and transparent of the good and mostly all the bad. Bad behaviors, choices, and habits we learned as an addict.

But when you “Own Your Recovery” and begin the process of learning why and begin the “inner work,” you begin to change. You begin to forgive yourself for those “poor choices” you had made. You start to accept the consequences, accountability, and responsibility for those choices and actions. You begin to learn and look for some of those “underlying roots” that had you in bondage and attached to your addiction.

Now, most 12-Step programs teach us we can recover without knowing why we turned to addiction in the first place. I am not a firm believer of this. WHY? Because, if we don’t know and learn to work through those issues, how do we begin a steady, healthy, and happy life maintaining recovery? How do we move forward and become fulfilled and productive people? See, we will be “a work in process” for the rest of our lives, many get scared or feel it will be an impossible task, and easier to be an addict than to have their lives back. That is a significant roadblock for many recovering. We are dealing with a “Disease.” So back to my Twitter comments. I have had a few remarks like “addicts make a choice to be addicts.

Other people commented – “I make a “choice” every day and to say it’s a disease minimizes people who suffer from real diseases like Alzheimer’s or cancer (WHAT? Really?).”

On the other hand, I know that when I gambled, I lost the control and ability to stop and kept gambling and gambling on slots! That is how gambling addiction is described by “The National Council on Problem Gambling” and knowing we have crossed the line into uncontrolled gambling. My friends at The National Council on Problem Gambling says; “Gambling addiction—is an impulse-control disorder.

“If you’re a compulsive gambler, you can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when it has negative consequences for you or your loved ones.” And I know first hand that this is true as it happened to me. No, I didn’t come from a background or a family who were gamblers. I was a normal gambler until I began to use it as an “escape, to numb out, and not feel my past childhood trauma” which came back out of nowhere.



So was it “my choice” to become a gambling addict? No.

To begin and maintain recovery is not easy. The first thing to do is reach out for help. There is no shame in doing so. And you can remain anonymous. When you do, become educated about the “cycle” of this disease and learn ways to interrupt the cycle. A sponsor, counselor, therapist, or recovery coach can help you achieve this. Read as much as you can about this addiction and make and have a solid ‘relapse plan and phone list’ to use for those “triggers and urges” in early recovery.

The longer you refrain from gambling, the less they will become. Start a journal. Journaling helps to relieve stress and anxiety. These are just a few ideas on how to begin your recovery path. Make sure you visit my Resources page and The Relapse Prevention Guide I have listed on its own page here on my recovery blog. I am always here to help. You can email me anytime if your needing help or support and where and how to be Gamble Free! lyonmedia@aol.com

Read my E-book as well as it is now on sale for just $2.99 a download on Amazon Kindle.   I share it all of my battle with gambling addiction and alcohol abuse. Giving in-depth insights and disclosing how I found and processed my underlying issues and roots to my becoming an addict. And again, “it was not a choice.” It happens … 

Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) by [Townsend-Lyon, Catherine]

How does a good girl go bad? Based on a true story, told in the author’s own words, without polish or prose, this haunting tale of addiction, family secrets, abuse, sexual misconduct, destruction, crime and…. recovery! One day at a time, one page at a time. Read and learn about this woman’s remarkable and brave story.