SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With the legalization of sports betting, comes a new way for New Yorkers to get hooked on gambling.
It’s often referred to as the “hidden addiction” because the signs aren’t visible. Now, with one more way to gamble in New York, the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) is reminding people that resources are available.
A statement from an OASAS spokesperson reads:
“New York State continues to increase access to problem gambling prevention and treatment services through the expansion of Regional Problem Gambling Resource Centers. These centers provide access to treatment services through an approved private practitioner network, and provide outreach and education to their communities. OASAS has also expanded services through new regulations for the provision of problem gambling treatment services. OASAS remains fully committed to providing quality services to anyone dealing with the effects of a gambling addiction as well as preventing problem gambling through education and other initiatives.”
Dr. Steven Brown, a licensed psychoanalyst based near Hudson, says it can take some time before a gambler realizes that have a problem.
“They’re having fun, they’re having a good time, and then it becomes a problem, and it’s not unlike other addictions. People don’t always know they’re a problem drinker at first,” he said.
Dr. Brown says it isn’t until someone is in deep debt that they find the willingness to see help and discover the root of the problem.
“They’re seeking some escape from some harder feelings that they’re unable to face,” he said.
The thrill of winning can provide that escape, but gambling is a losing game. In fact, Americans experience $100 billion a year in gambling losses with an addict accumulating an average debt of $55,000 to $90,000 dollars, according to a WalletHub study.
Debt can snowball and affect all aspects of your life resulting in depression and shame.
“It’s important not to be judgmental, not to be angry with them, to try to be compassionate, because they can’t help it,” said Dr. Brown.
He says no matter how insurmountable, there is hope.
“I’ve seen plenty of situations where people are able to recover and lead a healthy life,” he said.
Call the New York HOPEline at 877-846-7369 if you need help. Find more information here.