Gambling Addiction In Ohio | Signs & How To Get Help
Many Ohio residents gamble. Some become addicted to it, which means they feel unable to stop gambling even if they want to. Like other addictions, gambling addiction requires treatment. Luckily, Ohio offers many resources for compulsive gamblers.
About 10% of Ohio residents have a gambling problem or are at risk of developing one.
When you have a gambling problem, you continue to gamble even when it has negative consequences. The problem can eventually lead to gambling addiction. Here’s what you should know about this condition and how to treat it.
Gambling Addiction In Ohio
Gambling addiction (also called gambling disorder) is a condition that makes you feel unable to stop gambling.
Gambling means risking something of value to try and win something of even higher value. For example, a person might gamble by playing the lottery, playing a slot machine, or betting on the outcome of a sports game (also called sports betting).
Legalized Sports Betting
At the start of 2023, Ohio made gambling much more accessible by legalizing sports betting.
This means that any Ohioan aged 21 or older can now legally bet on sports games.
They can place their bets in a variety of ways. Many people use sports betting mobile apps. Others use sportsbooks, which are places where you can bet on and watch games. They’re often found at casinos and racinos.
Some people also use self-service betting kiosks at bars, restaurants, and other retail locations.
This increased accessibility to sports betting could put Ohioans at greater risk of gambling addiction.
Symptoms Of Gambling Addiction
The most common warning signs of gambling addiction include:
- constantly thinking about gambling
- gambling to cope with sadness, anxiety, or other unpleasant feelings
- feeling unable to set limits on gambling
- needing to gamble increasingly larger amounts of money to get the same rush
- gambling to get back money you lost while gambling (also called chasing losses)
- trying to hide your gambling behaviors from friends and family members
- borrowing money to make up for gambling losses
- feeling irritable when you try to cut down on or stop gambling
- risking or losing your job, education, or relationships due to gambling
- turning to theft, fraud, or other illegal activities to get gambling money
Gambling Addiction Risk Factors
Anyone can develop a gambling addiction. However, you’re more likely to develop one if you:
- have a history of substance abuse
- have a mental health condition, such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or bipolar disorder
- started gambling as a child or teenager
- are friends with problem gamblers
Gambling Addiction Treatment Options
When left untreated, gambling addiction can have serious consequences, including:
- relationship problems
- job loss
- bankruptcy and other financial problems
- legal problems
- suicidal thoughts or attempts
Luckily, there are many problem gambling treatment options, including:
In therapy, a behavioral health care provider will help you learn how to control your gambling urges.
There are multiple types of therapy used in gambling addiction services. The most popular type is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In CBT, your therapist teaches you how to change unhealthy behaviors and beliefs that contribute to your gambling addiction.
For example, if you use gambling to cope with anxiety, your therapist can help you replace it with healthy behaviors such as journaling, meditating, or making art.
When recovering from gambling addiction, you might feel misunderstood and isolated. In a support group, you can discuss your feelings and experiences with other compulsive gamblers.
One of the most popular gambling addiction support programs is Gamblers Anonymous (GA). Modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, the program holds both in-person and virtual group meetings.
For information on meetings and other problem gambling resources, Ohioans can call these hotlines:
- Toledo: 419-327-9514
- Youngstown: 330-505-5060
- Cincinnati, Dayton, and other cities: 855-222-5542
Ohio is also home to multiple Gam-Anon groups. These groups offer support to people affected by a loved one’s gambling addiction.
As mentioned above, gambling addiction often co-occurs with other mental health conditions. If you have a co-occurring condition, taking medication for it (such as an antidepressant for depression or a mood stabilizer for bipolar disorder) could reduce your compulsive gambling.
Researchers have also been investigating medications that may relieve symptoms of gambling addiction even if you don’t have a co-occurring mental health condition. These medications include:
- lithium, a mood stabilizer
- escitalopram, an antidepressant
- bupropion, an antidepressant
- naltrexone, a medication used to treat alcohol and opioid addiction
With continued research, these medications could eventually get approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat gambling addiction.
To learn more about gambling addiction treatment services, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center. Our addiction treatment programs offer personalized, evidence-based care to help you or your loved one stay healthy.
- Akron Beacon Journal — Sports betting in Ohio is being legalized. What to know https://www.beaconjournal.com/story/news/2022/12/15/sports-betting-in-ohio-is-being-legalized-what-to-know/69702437007/
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Compulsive gambling https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001520.htm
- Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services — Problem Gambling https://mha.ohio.gov/get-help/get-help-now/problem-gambling
- Supreme Court of Ohio — Problem Gambling: Hiding in Plain Sight https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/sites/specDockets/2019/materials/A5/A5.pdf