Gambling and Addictive Behavior

Gambling Expansion in Connecticut: Resources for Individuals Experiencing AddictivePhoto of online gambling. Behavior

While many forms of gaming have been legal in Connecticut for decades, 2021 marked the most significant update to what is allowed in the state when legislation to legalize online gaming, sports wagering, and fantasy sports was adopted.

Due to this new online gambling access, a rise in problem gambling will most likely result in an uptick with compulsive gambling addictions for some individuals. Gambling can stimulate the brain's reward system much like drugs or alcohol can, leading to addiction. Treating compulsive gambling can be challenging, but many people who struggle with compulsive gambling have found help through professional treatment.

While gambling may be a form of entertainment for most people, it is a harmful addiction for others. Here are some signs and symptoms of compulsive gambling (gambling disorder), to be aware of:

  • Being preoccupied with gambling, by constantly planning gambling activities
  • Needing to gamble with increasing amounts of money to get the same high
  • Trying to control, cut back or stop gambling, without much success
  • Feeling restless or irritable when trying to cut down on gambling
  • Gambling to escape problems or relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, or depression
  • Trying to get back lost money by gambling more
  • Lying to family members or others to hide the extent of gambling
  • Risking or losing important relationships, a job, or school or work opportunities because of gambling
  • Asking others to help with financial troubles, due to gambling money away

Resources to Assist if Experiencing a Gambling Addiction Issue:

Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection offers a self-exclusion program to help individuals affected by problem gambling distance themselves from gambling. Self-exclusion allows people to voluntarily ban themselves from all forms of gambling in the state.

 SOURCES: Mayo Clinic; Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS); Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling; National Council on Problem Gambling

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