WHAT IS PROBLEM GAMBLING?
Individuals with problem gambling — as well as their concerned others — may come into contact with any number of professionals in the course of their life. MNAPG is committed to providing resources so that those affected by problem gambling can find the assistance they need. While gambling counselors know the destructive nature of gambling disorder, other professionals may encounter individuals or family members that require guidance to protect against further harm.
Learning about problem gambling is particularly valuable to:
- Current gambling treatment providers working to advance their clinical skills or improve their practice, or who may be working toward some level of certification. MNAPG workshops and webinars provide insights into advanced clinical techniques for the treatment of problem gambling.
- Addiction treatment professionals who want to learn more about problem gambling given its frequent occurrence as a co-existing disorder among their alcohol and substance abuse patients.
- General health care and social service professionals who wish to better understand the signs of gambling addiction and are in an important position to help identify those at risk for gambling addiction.
- Attorneys, bankers and other financial advisors who may have clients struggling with a gambling disorder or who have already reached a point where their addiction has forced them into severe financial problems. MNAPG has some specific resources available to assist your clients with financial planning.
- Human Resources/Employee Assistance Program managers who can identify employees who may be experiencing gambling problems and learn about resources available to help them.
- Corrections officers who may have offenders that have either committed a crime related to their gambling addiction or require treatment for a gambling disorder while incarcerated. MNAPG has also developed an online training to guide corrections officers on fulfilling assessments.
- Spiritual and trusted community leaders who may be consulted by those with a gambling addiction may receive training that enables them to be more knowledgeable about this addiction within their community. MNAPG offers periodic spiritual/trusted community leader training. Please contact Susan Sheridan Tucker for more information.
We encourage healthcare, legal, financial and community leadership to become joint members of MNAPG and the National Council of Problem Gambling, providing access to the latest information about gambling trends, webinars, MNAPG’s quarterly newsletter and discounts/scholarships to each organization’s annual conferences and trainings.
NEWS FOR PROFESSIONALS
The opportunity to learn from someone who has been there before is invaluable in helping a gambler recover from addiction. READ MORE
The rate of suicide for those with gambling addiction is astounding. Here’s a look at the numbers. READ MORE
“Action” gamblers and “escape” gamblers are two very different breeds. We compare and contrast. READ MORE
SIGNS OF PROBLEM GAMBLING
Given the subtle nature of gambling problems, how can you identify someone who is at risk for gambling disorder? Here are the nine warning signs:
Frequent thoughts about gambling experiences (past, future, or fantasy)
Need for larger or more frequent wagers to experience the same “rush”
Restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
Gambling to escape from problems or feelings (i.e., depression, loneliness, etc.)
Try to win back gambling losses with more gambling
Lying about the frequency of gambling or amounts won or lost
Loss of control
Repeated unsuccessful attempts to control, reduce or stop gambling
Relying on others to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling
Risked significant relationship
Gambling despite risking or losing a relationship, job, or other significant opportunity
LIST OF MINNESOTA APPROVED PROVIDERS
Connections Counseling & Recovery Services
Joyce Terhorst email@example.com
7550 France Ave S, Suite 220, Edina, MN 55435
Fairview Compulsive Gambling Program
Jessica Nelson-Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org
2450 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55454
Midwest Recovery Inc
(612) 584-4858 email@example.com
1620 Central Ave NE, Suite 107, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Problem Gambling Intervention, LLC
Roger Anton firstname.lastname@example.org
Minneapolis VA Medical Center, 1 Veterans Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55417
Mille Lacs County
Alcohol and Gambling Assessments
Renee Collova-Bergee email@example.com
1397 Geneva Ave N #102A, Oakdale, MN 55128
Saint Louis County
Bridges and Pathways Counseling
Paul Mladnick firstname.lastname@example.org
1068 S Lake St, Suite 109, Forest Lake, MN 55025
Alcohol and Gambling Assessments
Renee Collova-Bergee email@example.com
1397 Geneva Ave N #102A, Oakdale, MN 55128
Yellow Medicine County
- HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
- FINANCIAL PROFESSIONALS
- LEGAL PROFESSIONALS
- HUMAN RESOURCES
- SPIRITUAL/TRUSTED COMMUNITY LEADER TRAINING
If you’re interested in pursuing certification to become a problem gambler treatment provider, please review the certification process under certification. Those interested in pursuing problem gambling training must be a LADC, LMSW, LLPC, LMFT or psychologist.
If you need to refer your client to a gambling treatment professional in Minnesota, please call 1-800-333-HOPE (4763). Translation services are available. A complete list of state-certified providers can be found above. Due to COVID-19, telehealth sessions are available until at least June 2021. Any Minnesotan may receive counseling services by any approved provider via video or telephone calls.
Gambling DisorderRead More . . .
GAMBLING DISORDER – DIAGNOSING THE HIDDEN ADDICTION
Here are Some Important Things for You to Understand
Sometimes referred to as the “hidden addiction” because it has no visible symptoms, such as those associated with drug or substance use disorder, it’s estimated that two million Americans suffer from gambling disorder. In Minnesota, approximately one to two percent of the population meets the diagnostic criteria for gambling disorder while another one to two percent experience problems related to their gambling behaviors. That means over 164,000 Minnesotans fall within the spectrum of problem gambling.
Gambling Disorder as Defined in DSM-5
According to DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, gambling disorder is defined as persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behavior leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. An individual with gambling disorder exhibits four or more of the following behaviors over the course of a 12-month period:
- The need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement
- Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
- Has been unsuccessful in repeated efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling
- Is often preoccupied with gambling
- Often gambles when feeling distressed
- After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” losses)
- Lies to conceal the extent of gambling
- Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling
- Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling
Gambling behavior that is not associated with a manic episode can be classified as episodic, persistent or in remission. The disorder can be further specified as mild (when 4-5 criteria are met), moderate (when 6-7 criteria are met) or severe (when 8-9 criteria are met).
There are several assessment and diagnostic tools available to counselors who suspect their client may have a gambling problem. These tools may help confirm the existence of a gambling addiction.
Inspiring Success Stories
You and your clients should know that treatment has helped improve the lives of many Minnesotans with a gambling problem. We have a trove of stories.
Help is Available, Often at No Cost
Be sure that your clients know that most Minnesotans with a gambling problem and affected family members can get treatment, often at no cost through the state. The Minnesota Department of Human Services manages the gambling treatment program. If someone you are treating for other mental health or addictions is interested in gambling treatment and has little or no insurance, the cost of counseling is usually covered by the state as long as the individual sees a state-approved provider. Families are permitted up to 12 hours of counseling per year at no cost if they have no insurance coverage. The state operates a 24/7 helpline for individuals with gambling concerns: 1-800-333-4673 (HOPE).
Back to tab
SCREENing for a gambling problemRead More . . .
Gambling addiction is a disorder that’s often not well understood — even among healthcare professionals — and is rarely screened for even if an individual has other addictions like alcohol or substance use. You may have a client or patient that is struggling with financial, emotional, health and relationship problems related to their gambling issues. Unless you ask specifically about gambling, the individual is not likely to mention it or perhaps even make the connection.
As a starting point, you can pose the following three questions from the Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen. If the individual answers yes to any of the questions, a full assessment is advised.
- During the past 12 months, have you become restless, irritable or anxious when trying to stop/cut down on gambling?
- During the past 12 months, have you tried to keep your family or friends from knowing how much you gambled?
- During the past 12 months, did you have such financial trouble as a result of your gambling that you had to get help with living expenses from family, friends or welfare?
Other screening tools
- DSM-5 Diagnostic Gambling Disorder Criteria– The American Psychiatric Association provides guidelines used for gambling disorders. Five or more “yes” answers indicate a possible diagnosis for a gambling disorder. Less than five but more than zero indicates a potential problem and/or at-risk indicators, which may warrant further support, education and treatment services.
- South Oaks Gambling Screen– The SOGS is a lifetime measure of problem gambling that has been found to be reliable and valid. This 16-item screening tool places individuals in one of three categories: non-problem, problem or probable pathological gambler.
- South Oaks Gambling Screen – Revised for Adolescents– This instrument is composed of 12 items and has been found to be valid and reliable for detecting gambling problems among adolescents.
- South Oaks Gambling Screen – Spanish– Developed by Henry Lesieur, Ph.D., and Sheila Blume, M.D., this is a screen for compulsive gambling. Translated into Spanish.
- Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions– This questionnaire, which was developed by Gamblers Anonymous, is intended as a self-assessment for “compulsive gambling.” It has not been scientifically tested and validated, so caution should be exercised with its use.
ComorbidityRead More . . .
Gambling disorder is often associated with other mental health and addictions such as alcohol, drugs or depression.
If you are a health professional working with substance use abuse clients, screening for problem gambling should be part of their treatment plan. There is a high incidence of comorbidity with alcohol and drugs (particularly cannabis and meth). It’s not advisable to just treat for the substance abuse without identifying a possible gambling addiction. While there are many similarities with all addictions, gambling disorder has unique characteristics and can affect other areas of the brain not typically associated with substance abuse.
Problem gambling often stems from a complex mix of issues that your client may be experiencing, including interpersonal, intrapersonal and health challenges.
In many cases, problem gambling does not occur in isolation. It often occurs in tandem with a range of other co-presenting and co-morbid issues, including:
- alcohol and drug issues,
- bad health,
- domestic violence,
- financial hardship,
- legal problems,
- unemployment, and
- relationship breakdown.
What the Primary Care Clinician Should Know about Comorbidity with Gambling
Gambling and Substance Abuse:
- The rate of current and lifetime substance abuse is higher among problem gamblers than that of the general population.
- There is a strong correlation between severity of substance use and severity of problem gambling; higher rates and severity of substance use are predictive of more severe gambling problems and vice versa.
- The degree of substance abuse may be a telling factor in those who gamble recreationally and those who have a gambling problem. The greater the number of substances used, the more likely severe gambling problems are experienced.
- Those with problem gambling behavior often have increased impulsivity, antisocial tendencies and the inability to control anger.
- Gambling at an earlier age increases the risk for multiple addictions and risky behavior.
- Those with gambling problems and comorbid substance use may make poor decisions because of increased impulsivity.
- The inability to accurately assess risk and impaired impulse control often occurs with gambling and substance abuse orders.
- Higher rates of gambling relapse may occur when there is a failure to treat comorbid substance use disorders.
- People with comorbid substance use and gambling problems are more likely to report other psychiatric histories.
Gambling and Mental Disorders:
- High rates of gambling are often associated with mental health problems. Most problem gamblers have more than one psychiatric disorder.
- While there is correlation between comorbid problem gambling and other mental disorders, a causative relationship has not yet been determined.
- The activity of gambling may relieve other conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
- The early onset of gambling addiction is often associated with pre-existing depression.
- Gambling may worsen mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
- People who have major mental disorders and are socially isolated are most at risk for problem gambling.
- Behavioral and motivational treatment of problem gambling has been shown to reduce use of psychiatric medication, suggesting that anxiety and depression may be secondary to gambling, at least in some people.
- Women are more likely to use gambling to escape depressed moods and anxiety. Women with a gambling addiction are also significantly more likely to seek treatment for their mood or anxiety disorder.
- Mood disorders are more common in problem gamblers than they are in the general population.
- People with bipolar disorder are more likely to have a gambling addiction than the general population.
- There is a correlation between those with high rates of anxiety and those with more severe gambling problems.
- People with gambling problems have increased rates of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Problem gambling is highly correlated with a variety of personality disorders, including antisocial, borderline and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders.
- Impulse control disorders (including kleptomania, impulsive shopping and impulsive sexual behavior) and purging-type eating disorders have high comorbidity with problem gambling.
Gambling and Suicide:
- Suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts are much more likely to occur with problem gamblers than with the general population.
- Early onset problem gambling is associated with increased risk of suicide.
- Actual gambling-related suicide attempts are more likely to be made by older people.
- The risk of suicide in people with gambling problems is increased by comorbid substance use and comorbid mental disorders.
- Gamblers have the highest rate of suicide among all addictions.
- There is a greater risk of suicide among veteran/active military who have gambling disorders.
- For more information on suicide and gambling, please see the Suicide Fact Sheet 2018
Approaches to Those with Gambling Comorbidity:
- The effectiveness of treatment for a gambling problem is not diminished by a history of substance use and mental disorders.
- People predisposed to have a gambling problem or substance use should be careful to avoid replacing one addiction with another.
- There are no FDA-approved medications for the treatment of disordered gambling; however, several studies suggest that medications used to treat other addictive and psychiatric disorders may reduce problem gambling.
- The most promising of these are the opioid receptor antagonists, naltrexone and nalmefene. These agents have been shown to reduce gambling urges and gambling behaviors, such as time and amount of money spent on gambling.
- Trials evaluating the effectiveness of antidepressants for treating disordered gambling have produced mixed results.
- Overall, the trials on several medications have been small sample sizes and short in duration. More research is needed.
Gambling Disorder Certification & EducationRead More . . .
The process of becoming an approved problem gambling counselor training is managed through Minnesota’s Department of Human Services. Scholarships are available at specific times through DHS. Currently, the requirements are to complete 60 hours of problem gambling training. DHS is recognizing any training listed on the International Gambling Counseling Certification Board, www.igccb.org. DHS is not currently requiring counselors to take the IGCCB certification exams. MNAPG however, advocates that individuals should seek these certifications.
Those interested in pursuing problem gambling training must be a LADC, LMSW, LLPC or psychologist. Partial scholarships are available for those seeking to become an approved provider. A limited number of full scholarships are available to those working with an identified underserved population. Note: professionals can be gambling disorder counselors in Minnesota without DHS oversight. DHS approves/certifies providers/counselors only if they desire to access state grant funds for treatment reimbursement. Those meeting the requirements may apply for this status when DHS has opened its RFP process. For more information about DHS’s program, contact Trevor Urman at firstname.lastname@example.org, (651) 431-2231. Email is the best contact during the COVID work-at-home order (through June 2021).
INTERNATIONAL GAMBLING COUNSELOR CERTIFICATION
The International Certified Gambling Counselor (ICGC) program provides a competency-based certification program for professionals treating gambling disorder.
There are two levels of certification, ICGC-I and ICGC-II. Counselors must demonstrate a specific number of hours in gambling-specific training, clinical experience treating gamblers, and successful completion of the certification examination for gambling counselors. A third designation, BACC, denotes ICGC-II counselors who have acquired sufficient training, clinical experience and supervision skills, and are approved to provide supervision to ICGC applicants.
For more information about certification visit the IGCCB site https://www.igccb.org/
GUIDE TO CORE COMPETENCIES FOR TREATING PROBLEM GAMBLING, Oregon Health Authority, 2019. A recent international survey of the major thought leaders, researchers and clinicians in the problem gambling field gathering best practices in 5 distinct areas of gambling treatment.
A significant aspect of gambling disorder is the financial harm it can inflict. Individuals who struggle with a gambling addiction are likely experiencing a range of financial problems, including credit card debt, debt to casinos, debt to family members and/or friends from whom they borrowed money, past due state and federal taxes, and even debt to illegal sources, such as loan sharks. The extent of their issues may not be known immediately as gamblers are quite adept at covering their tracks. If a family member or a gambler reaches out for assistance it’s critical to provide the necessary protections to prevent further financial harm. It’s also important to understand the mind of a problem gambler, which is steeped in irrational thinking. Their financial woes are complex, often shameful and layered in deceit.
Ideally, when a gambler reaches out for help, they should stop gambling and seek help for the addiction along with financial counseling. However, if it’s the family that’s reaching out, they will likely need assistance with a variety of options to protect their remaining assets.
It’s important that legal professionals become educated about gambling addiction so they can consider whether a gambling problem might be at the root of criminal activity. With appropriate screening and assessment, such problems can be better diagnosed.
For first-time offenders with a gambling problem, referral to treatment may be appropriate. Treatment is available free of charge for qualifying individuals throughout Minnesota. If the client’s insurance will partially pay for costs, the Minnesota Department of Human Services will pay the balance, up to the total DHS’s fee schedule reimbursement rate. (The exception to this rule is a Medicare client. DHS cannot pay more than what Medicare pays.) Referrals to state-approved gambling treatment providers can be found on this website PROVIDE LINK or call 1-800-333-HOPE (4673).
Be aware that your client may not be forthcoming with this information as they seek your help for legal issues. Here are a variety to scenarios that can help you identify someone with a gambling addiction.
Review of Financial Information
As you review financial information, you may note patterns that suggest a gambling problem. For example, you may see multiple withdrawals that form a suspicious narrative, or you may see that multiple credit cards are maxed out. Further investigation may determine that a gambling issue is present.
An attorney or the trustee could note an unexpected lack of assets and suspect that a gambling addiction played a role. The presence of a gambling problem may become very relevant in moving a case forward.
When dividing up marital assets, one spouse will likely notice that the money he/she thought was there is not. There could also be joint credit card debt that one spouse is not aware of, as well as unexpected loans, wiped out college savings, an equity line of credit, etc. A lawyer might also see incomplete information or the reluctance of a spouse to be forthcoming.
Child Neglect/Abuse and Domestic Violence
People with a gambling addiction focus all their attention on gambling and may neglect family responsibilities. An extreme example is someone leaving their child in the car at a casino while they are inside gambling. Those persons accused or charged with neglect or violence should be referred for a gambling assessment and a substance use assessment.
Alcohol or Other Drug Addiction
In some cases, a person will switch addictions. For example, they may stop drinking but instead start gambling as a substitute. One study of people with substance use disorder published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases concluded that roughly 20 percent of study participants had significant gambling problems or had had such problems at some point in their past.
Suicide attempts may suggest an underlying gambling problem. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that one in five problem gamblers attempts to kill themselves, a rate that’s about twice that of other addictions. When a financial crisis occurs, those with a gambling addiction and high gambling debts believe there is no way out and their hopelessness drives them to contemplate and attempt suicide.
A guardian or conservator for an elderly person might discover unusually frequent trips to the casino or a surprising lack of funds. A criminal defense attorney might discover the problem when representing a client on a variety of crimes. An employment lawyer might notice a gambling problem in the context of representing a person who is being terminated for poor performance or repeated absences.
It’s difficult for many individuals to compartmentalize their private lives from their professional lives, especially if they have physical or mental health issues. If one of your employees is experiencing problem gambling, it may be impossible for them to “turn it off” while at work. Here are some key points to take into consideration:
- If an employer believes an employee has a gambling problem, the employee’s supervisor should express concerns in a supportive manner. The employer may want to consider providing the employee with problem gambling resources.
- The supervisor should attempt to appear non-judgmental and share work-related observations about how the gambling problem is negatively impacting the employee’s work performance.
- The supervisor should explain that the employee is expected to perform his or her job duties to the best of their ability and that the employee has not been satisfying this standard. The supervisor should make the employee aware that if this does not change, disciplinary action may follow.
An employee with a gambling problem may exhibit:
- increased stress,
- increased tardiness,
- extended lunch breaks and absences from work,
- requests for advances in pay or pay in lieu of vacation or sick time,
- requests to borrow money from co-workers,
- bragging about gambling winnings,
- moodiness and irritability,
- decreased productivity and lack of concentration and motivation
- theft, and
- signs of financial distress, such as collection calls, garnishments and lawsuits.
An employer should be aware that problem gamblers often move their gambling to the workplace to hide it from their families, so colleagues are often the first to become aware of this activity.
When Having a Gambling Policy Makes Sense
The negative effects of a gambling problem can cause a serious impact on the workplace. A sound gambling policy is especially important for employers that deal with significant amounts of cash, are located near gambling venues, have flexible work schedules, frequently send employees away from home or employ recovering gambling addicts. The purpose of a gambling policy is to communicate the employer’s universal expectations for all employees regarding gambling in the workplace.
Office Pools, Gambling and Fantasy Sports Policy
Gambling, especially office pools and fantasy sports, are becoming more popular. Many employees participate in gambling and sports betting, such as Super Bowl and March Madness pools. As employees inevitably begin to build social relationships, they will want to participate in these types of activities together. This policy will explain what the employer defines as gambling, provide guidelines for what types of activities will and will not be allowed on the employer’s premises, and assist employers in identifying and responding to employees who may have a serious gambling problem.
Here are a few tips for supervisors when they suspect an employee has a gambling problem:
- Express concerns in a caring and supportive manner. Do not diagnose the problem or tell the individual what to do. Be clear, non-judgmental and speak only for yourself.
- Use work-related observations.
- Be positive.
- Explain how the problem affects you.
- Be clear about your position.
- Respect personal boundaries.
- When a gambling problem is known, provide information, not advice.
- Be prepared for denial or a hostile reaction.
What Can Your Organization Do?
A proactive response from your organization will help reduce the negative impact problem gambling can have within the workplace. The following are some measures to consider.
- Policy statements. Incorporate the topic of gambling into relevant policies. Most companies have policies on internet use, phone use and disallowed activities during work hours. When reviewing policy statements make sure the policies are sufficiently comprehensive to address problem gambling issues, e.g., internet gambling.
- Provide awareness training. Without awareness, problem gambling will not be detected. The signs of a gambling problem are seldom identified as gambling related. Training can help employees and employers to identify and assist the problem gambler.
- Make financial counseling available. Financial issues can be just as serious as mental health disorders. It is important that financial counseling be made available to employees who are in a financial crisis.
- Monitor the money stream. Some occupations involve direct contact with money, while in other occupations money can be “moved.” These occupations might be considered high risk for the problem gambler, and a monitoring system can protect employee and employer.
- Minnesota Problem Gambler Helpline 1-800-333-HOPE (4673). The helpline can provide a referral to confidential and no-cost treatment (if individual has no insurance or their plan doesn’t cover gambling disorder).
- Gambler’s Anonymous
- Gambling and Health in the Workplace, an NCRG publication 2012. Source: XPert HR
As an individual begins acknowledging their gambling problems, they may wish to seek spiritual or community elder guidance as an early step in their recovery. Unfortunately, most spiritual or community elders do not have adequate training in addiction, making it difficult for them to talk about the issue. MNAPG offers nondenominational spiritual training for a group of six to eight individuals who express an interest. This 24-hour training is offered at no cost. It comprises 16 hours of problem gambling training and another eight hours focusing on spiritual approaches to helping a community member.
The International Gambling Counselor Certification Board (IGCCB) has developed the IGCCB Clergy/Lay Ministers Certification. This provides basic knowledge about gambling addiction and treatment as well as recovery resource information to enhance the leader’s skills ability to recognize compulsive gambling and provide resources to loved ones. The specialized 24-hour training for spiritual and community elders can lead to an IGCCB certification (non-clinical). To receive the official certification, an exam must be passed. MNAPG will offer the training to individuals seeking the certification and those who wish to be more knowledgeable about gambling addiction.
Most importantly, this training will equip spiritual leaders to serve as the best “first responders” to people seeking help for problem gambling.
- The dynamics and psychology of addiction
- Problem gambling defined and described; gambling disorder defined and described; the scope of problem gambling in American society
- The impact of problem gambling on families; the components of effective support for the loved ones of gamblers
- Financial issues faced by gamblers and their families
- The goals of problem gambling treatment; the options for treatment
- Spirituality and its significant role within the recovery process: the spiritual issues commonly encountered by those with gambling disorder and their loved ones
- The unique role of a spiritual leader in the recovery care process
- Awareness of problem gambling support groups: GA; Gam-Anon, Celebrate Recovery and others
(Note: the spiritual leader certification process does not train one to be a therapist; rather, leaders will learn about treatment and understand what individuals in treatment may encounter as they go through the recovery process.)
WHEN LEGAL PROFESSIONALS HAVE GAMBLING DISORDER
Lawyers are at high risk for problem gambling. The stress associated with the practice of law often contributes to compulsive behaviors such as eating, shopping and gambling. Attorneys must be able to recognize the signs of compulsive gambling and be aware of the resources available.
Common personality characteristics of a lawyer also put them at high risk for developing gambling problems. Here are some reasons why lawyers are at risk:
- Lawyers are often risk takers.
- Risks are often amply rewarded. Success in a high-risk case may result in increasingly risky choices and behaviors.
- Lawyers may gamble to escape the trauma they’ve endured and experienced with their clients or to otherwise cope with the stress of the profession.
- Lawyers have access to settlement proceeds, retainers and other funds that they may access inappropriately.
- Lawyers are among the most likely professionals to suffer from stress and depression, which plays a role in the development of problem gambling behavior.
- Alcohol misuse and dependency is twice as prevalent among attorneys compared to non-attorneys. This addiction leaves them at risk for “co-occurring addictions,” such as gambling addiction.
If you have concerns about your own gambling, contact Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) at 866-525-6466 or www.mnlcl.org. LCL provides free, confidential peer and professional assistance to Minnesota lawyers, judges, law students, and their immediate family members on any issue that causes stress or distress.
Attorney’s Guide to Gambling Addiction LINK TO BROCHURE
Never Enough, A Lawyer’s Story Presentation at Holland hospital, Holland, MI