CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Opioid addiction is not the only addiction hitting West Virginia hard.
Research shows gambling addiction is also a growing problem in the Mountain State. According to a recent study, one in 50 people in West Virginia struggle with a gambling addiction, which experts say, may even be an undercount.
But there is hope for this problem. People can call a gambling hotline, 1-800 GAMBLER, which would connect them with a real life person. This is important in the fact that they will be connected with someone who has expert training and can help people deal with gambling addiction. Then that person can help them with the next steps and figure out what to do next. What this usually means is getting the person help by linking them with professional treatment.
There are different options for treatment as well, whether it be in person or telehealth counseling, self health literature and books, volunteering to ban themselves from a casino, or free software people can install to block online gambling from their phone, tablet or laptop.
“We know that a lot of people are struggling with gambling addiction, and for every person that’s struggling with it, there are many more people affected by it. We get a lot of calls from family members of people. I’m very concerned that their spouse or their child or their parent is spending all of their money, their retirement, their savings, getting second mortgages, lots of debt on gambling and so they’re obviously in distress as well. So, we can help loved ones as well. We can give them some guidance and direction,” said Sheila Moran, Director of Marketing and Communication for First Choice Services.
Moran also mentioned that there are gamblers anonymous groups in West Virginia as well, which can be found on her website, 1800gambler.net. This website can provide people suffering from gambling addiction with a few counselor lead support groups, online groups, telephone groups, and Facebook groups.