Prevention is the Best Defense – Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling Blog


Every November, also known as Military Family Month, our nation proudly pays tribute as a symbol of gratitude, remembrance, and support for our nation’s heroes on Veterans Day. These individuals are members of our country who have proudly served in the U.S armed forces. Though we recognize the journey that these individuals faced while in service, the challenges veterans undergo when returning to civilian life are often overlooked. As we observe this holiday, we want to take a moment to raise awareness about how veterans can be affected by problem gambling. 

When returning home from service, veterans may struggle to re-assimilate into civilian life, find a new career path, and reassess life goals and ambitions. Some may be returning with physical disabilities or mental health impacts, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), survivor’s guilt, depression, and substance abuse. Unfortunately, these factors also put veterans at a higher risk of developing a gambling addiction. Research shows that veterans are at least twice as likely to develop a gambling problem. Not to mention, as many as 56,000 active duty military members meet the criteria for gambling disorder. Gambling disorder was also found to co-occur with trauma-related conditions such as substance abuse and suicidality [1]. 

With hundreds of thousands of Floridians and millions nationwide suffering from gambling addiction, the rates are even higher for veterans. Despite growing evidence that individuals from military backgrounds are more vulnerable to developing problem gambling, limited research has focused on developing prevention and treatment, and a lack of standardized screening among healthcare providers working with military populations persists, leaving up a barrier to treatment [1]. The good news is that Florida’s 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine offers confidential help and hope for veterans, military families, and anyone impacted by problem gambling. Did you know that the FCCG provides FREE services and supports to mental health professionals and others servicing this population? Click here to download our flyer for military service providers to learn more.

Veterans deserve care and support, so help us spread the word! Through the FCCG’s 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine, veterans and their loved ones can find support and resources 24/7. 

How can you help? Share the HelpLine resource. Create awareness. Become a voice in calling for problem gambling prevention, screening, and treatment for active military service members and veterans. 

The FCCG’s 24-hour confidential and multilingual HelpLine may be reached by calling 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), texting (321) 978-0555, emailing fccg@gamblinghelp.org, initiating a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, or by reaching out to us on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.

 

 [1] JE. Grant, SW. Kim et al. “Gambling Problems in US Military Veterans.” Current Addiction Reports, Springer International Publishing, 24 Apr. 2020, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40429-020-00310-2




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