Viewpoint – Gambling Addiction



hi welcome to viewpoint my name is Lillian Newman and viewpoints mission is to educate and inform you about issues that are facing our community and we do that by bringing you guests that are on the front line addressing these issues and I'd like to welcome my co-host Susan Salamone executive director of drug crisis in our backyard good afternoon Lily I'm glad you're here Susan and our guest today is rod Correa CASAC which is credentialed alcohol and substance abuse counselor gee gambling right that is your specialty is gambling welcome thank you great to have you here you know when we were talking about shows and just a little bit before we're talking about gambling I have the title is the other addiction it's almost as if gambling isn't looked at like a real issue do you find that in your field what about that now nowadays gambling is so accepted by society casinos scratch off lot oh you know you see it on TV you hear it on the radio it's especially for the young adults it's so common that it's just an accepted thing for them it's it was never taken as seriously as drugs or alcohol so now is the realization that with all the popping up of casinos all these lotos these billion-dollar lotos and everything they're realizing that they're also causing a lot of problems ambling among among people it's funny you say that rod because when I first heard about there being gambling prevention I and I said to myself this is crazy what else are we going to try to stop so I felt myself I don't I don't really understand that I'm so happy that you here today to explain it because I can't really understands it although I have enormous amount of information about substance abuse understand substance use mm-hmm I can't understand gambling as an addiction so I'm glad so if I can't and I am very much aware of of addiction and addictive behavior you can imagine what the you know the regular population is thinking about no absolutely when you when you talk about first of all you got to understand the brain function okay okay when when for instance if you have a piece of cake and it tastes really good that message goes to the midbrain where's the reward center and it says you know I like this I'd like another piece now when there's good communication with your frontal cortex which is the one that has the impulse control the right from wrong to stop and go it'll tell you well you've had enough you've had enough you could you got to stop when there's the lack of communication when there's a breakdown of communication that midbrain just wants more and more and more and there's no stopping it so it eventually gets to the point where the person is life is just revolved around that particular addiction whether it's food where there is sex whether it's gambling where it's drugs were there it's alcohol it comes from the same part of the brains oh then are you saying that I know we're doing a lot of studies on the brain and adolescent brain so are we saying that when kids young adults start gambling it affects that same part of the brain that they can go on and just continue gambling longer and longer and longer than if someone who starts using drugs and alcohol at a later part in their life 20s and 30s they have less of a chance the older they get right you got understand an adolescent as compared to an adult the the the chances of their having a gambling problem this three times greater got it and the reason for that is that you know they're risk takers that's something that's just automatic with young adults or adolescents until they're 25 because it's still considered adolescence they're risk takers automatically now depending on what exposure they've had if if you grew up in a family that was constantly you're gonna you're gonna get into it I mean I I know someone who's dead got him to do spreadsheets with him when he was preteen and and it became such a normal thing that he eventually developed a gambling addiction now the gambling addiction again it comes from different variations it could be environmental you know it could be genetics it could be something that's just passed down just like if you have diabetes you could pass that down and no difference in drugs and alcohol so and it could be trauma based ok so there's a lot of reasons why someone has an addiction but if a child is is exposed to this at a young age yeah they gotta continue doing it so what do you think the cost is for us as treatment providers and as a country what is the cost of treating someone or as a gambling addiction well the insurance cover it issue some insurances are covering it they're beginning to and depending on what the insurance your company's insurance is pointing into it I have people that they do cover substance abuse but they do not cover gambling Medicaid used to cover gambling but once the dsm moved it to non substance disorder it was changed now gambling is called it's not even get called pathological gambling is called disordered gambling got it so yes but some insurances do pay for in full so what's almost going back to the days when substance abuse wasn't really covered before it got to dsm and it was considered a disease you you couldn't get coverage you how to pay out-of-pocket right and the problem is that again it's so accepted they're not seeing the seriousness of it they're beginning to write which is why you see so little is going into treatment and and when you see how many billions and billions of dollars the the legal gambling industry is making and how little is going to actual treatment so when you talk about legal gambling it's of course the lotto scratch-offs the casinos and you said something before that the fantasy football stop the fantasy fan of TV Oh TV but a family sports is something new which is you know it's it's it's very new last year again fantasy sports grossed about 3.5 billion dollars Wow online gambling is really big amongst the young yeah because they know how to navigate the the computer technology right I mean and and the thing is that for instance if I was looking something up in Google right and I get the main page they'll have a sidebar about roulette plane or gambling they'll have site so every yourself ill it's their blatantly in front of you constantly whether it's on TV whether it's on the radio now regular people that don't have the addiction they'll listen to it and they just write it right but but these things are major triggers for other for gamblers because when you're when you see somebody jumping up and down that they want so much money they feel I might have a chance right to to win and they'll go ahead but the problem is that they can't stop can you take us through the progression just like with substance abuse can take us through the progression clients come to you how do they get to you and when do you see them beginning middle end they've lost the Hat what does it look like what is the you know what is it what would it add a in the life look like well there's someone that has a gambling problem well first of all like you said they have to admit that they have a problem and one of the biggest issues is the denial I don't have a problem and it's not that bad so what's the same as alcohol is it's it's about eighty percent the same as having a drug or alcohol problem because the only difference is that if you have a gambling problem you don't have to be high you don't have to drink that's what gets me about it that's why it's hard for me to understand because there's not a substance you're putting in your body try to change the way you're thinking right and the thing is is the like for some is that rush my it's not so much the drinking or or they are the drugging is that rush now understand normally people will gamble social gamblers they will gamble and they don't have to you know they say I had a good time they leave but when you have someone that has a propensity for addiction and and they start gambling they want to get more and more and more and they go back and if they lose then they'll go back they're either chasing the win or they're chasing the law and it's something for a gambler that you cannot stop despite the fact that you want to stop right yeah and despite negative consequences and those are the same as drug and alcohol right yeah and I've heard like stories of people losing so much money can you tell us a little bit about that well I I know some people that the bank have has foreclosed on their mortgage we see the thing is when you are first of all the word addiction okay that's it's a root it's from a Latin word and it means to be enslaved mm-hmm okay that's and that's exactly what happens you become a slave to that addiction with the gambler you're a slave you wake up thinking about the gambling your day is wrapped around the gambling and your night is where am I going to get the money or how am I going to pay because you know gambling is one word but there are so many different types of gambling you scratch off a lot of people are not aware of that that's considered gambling scratch-offs the lotto horse races you know the casinos this the stores now in the past you know depending on the culture mm-hmm you know there were different types I you know and and numbers right and I have to admit my dad was a numbers player when but it was illegal right that's right now they're they're legal and the cut and the states are making money like the gambling you know right now as of I think 2014 casinos there they were making up to four hundred billion dollars a year not you figures we are wearing Indian American do you like write or 100 billion from that for the the states or the the country is taken from their 240 million billion dollars in taxes it just oh and the revenue from people from the casinos casinos are one of the largest as far as gambling they there were all monies right yeah that's where all over and there does their continually developing this so I heard in New York State was voting on some in the Upstate area about some casinos right in and I think last year they three contracts were drawn up now a couple of years ago four years ago New York State was trying to get Las Vegas to build casinos here mm-hm just to apply they had they were charging them a million dollars just to apply for an application a lot of money being there's a lot of but I taste them I don't see where the money is going to benefit anybody it's not going in schools it's gotten uh Caroll's it's not gonna low with taxes it's not going to for treatment for gambling sub where's the money was it two hundred and forty billion dollars well for instance these new casinos when when they're building here when they create the rapid but the application the Gaming Commission is saying they have to put down what are their plans it's for treatment because they realize like for instance if you have a casino within a 50 mile radius of a casino the prevalence of a problematic gambling or pathological gambling is greater daddy you know and now they're building up their building everywhere so we're all they building in New York oh my god New York right now has over 20 cuz he knows yeah well casually New York State yeah they they're all over the Catskills you here we have and piracy and and Resorts International and queens you know that's why that's why gamble that's why Atlantic City is really losing money right because people aren't traveling as far because it's right there at the back yo let me ask you a question Resorts International Queens it was when you went to Alexis beautiful hotel where was I I don't see it in Queens you know I don't see it in these places well you know you had those like Belmont for instance oh no they got up with Recinos got it now I understand racetracks and casinos just like it makes more sense yeah just just like the Yonkers there are they doing any up in the Catskills do you know what oh yeah yeah they are they're there they're popping up everywhere you know because I I was in real estate a couple of years ago I tried my hand at it I wasn't really liked very much well I went to a it was a commercial real estate conference and they they were Newburgh was trying to get in on it because of all the money it would generate for the city to have this money coming in it could like renovate it – yeah there was they'll depending on the revenue from those things yeah now if you have a person that has a severe problem remove it because you know they can ban themselves from the casino they can call up and say they go there they're actually there photographs are taken and if they catch them they're escorted out second time if they do it again in their court they could get arrested for trespassing so they are very life impose yes it is self-imposed but but what happens and with addiction if you don't take care of the addiction itself because the addiction is the umbrella right under that term addiction is alcohol drugs like I said before right pornography drugs our and and all of that and if you don't take care of the addiction the addiction will gravitate to another part I had a person that band themselves from the casino because they were it was a problem for them they want to develop E or their addiction continue with scratch-offs okay they just substituted one for the other right yeah yeah they do the same thing yeah right well well the other thing is again research is always different depending who's correct in the research but they're saying that at least 50% of problem gamblers also have a drug in alcohol yeah because they get they go handed that free alcohol Ksenia and your inhibitions are lower right right you're right that's why they give you free alcohol so they look in the box a little box the first time I went to a casino rod I was in Puerto Rico with you I was 21 years old and I remember the Lord a blackjack table and playing blackjack and I was winning and I was so excited I think that feeling I know what that feelings right is that rush and I don't know if I won or lost money at this time but do you know I that was it for me with gambling I didn't like it after that it's scary you know from from my experience speaking with with with people there's at different reasons why they gamble some gamble for the money right some gamble just for the excitement for the rush yeah for the action they don't care about the money they don't care about winning or losing it's placing a bet and into the action that's what drives thank God I don't know I don't need to know you cam a little I went outside what about two weeks ago with my girlfriend to Yonkers but in my head I had a certain amount of money I went to the penny machine and I just and I won I got up to about fifty sixty dollars and I said okay it was their money he said I'm gonna stop but I saw myself go down and then I said I can keep going let me go back up and I went up to about 50 $60 and I cashed out I put my little check in and I got my cash and I walked away because I could have kept going because there is a looks line because oh if I could buy 150 if I keep doing maybe I could win some more you know maybe I could win some more but I said I'm not that lucky I know that you know the the casino when you talk about gambling and the casinos really it's exciting when you go in there and you hear the bells and the whistles in this exciting and this you know and I've said it even to people at the casino I said this no nothing wrong with gambling really the problem is the gambler right you know and again those that have the propensity for addiction they're the worst off for it once you can't stop you know you don't think it consequences this thing is it's it's like being possessed by something that just doesn't let go and it's tough because again when you asked before what brings a person to treatment you see the crisis driven mm-hmm you know or a family member saying either that or there's divorce right you know why and you bring the person in and even if they come in there is denial right but the first step is to get them to admit that they do have a problem and then you proceed in the treatment with them and again I always tell them you're gonna get out of this as much as you put in right so now you have a case ACK with a specification in gambling yes and I've never heard of that before so could you tell us a little bit about that and where you work and yeah I work at the Lexington center for recovery two offices right now supposedly yet from what I understand I'm the only problem gambling and counselor in all of Westchester which we are so I work out a Dero shell our neuro shell office and our Mount Kisco office and to get the G first of all you got to have the case act right you got to understand addiction you got a no alcohol you got to know this but is to understand what addiction does once you understand the diction it really is not that far fetched from the gambling even though I've had so many gamblers tell me this is so different than drugs I think this is worse really is that what they say yeah because you think about it they're not getting I mean yes some of them do drink and something some do drugs but the ones that don't they're still that compulsion right it drive they're driven to do this if if they if they have to place that bed where there is true a bookie or a loanshark right or even if it's legal but the compulsion to engage in that action is something that they cannot control could you tell us what percentage of the population is suffering from this well from again studies but anywhere from 10 to 20 million people in America are suffering from and I'm talking about adults and adolescents so how many people do you have in treatment at any given time well I at this point I D I just started actually a gambling group you know as opposed to Gamblers Anonymous okay yes on before okay I do individual sessions with the clients and we work on education because the first important thing is in order to beat an enemy right you got to know what this side that's right you got to know their weaknesses you got to know their strengths and you got to know that this thing resides in years right and and that's what they have to understand and they also have to understand the behaviors that gambling does you know when when how triggers work you got to identify your triggers you got to understand relapse prevention and we talked about this I also meet with the gambler and the spouse got it because I from so far their the gambler is the male right and so when I meet with them I have a very very angry wife so you mean usually it's a male well you know what and it for me yeah but what they're finding now is like problem gamblers between the ages of like 45 and 64 it's it's there's more women than that okay my mother loved to gamble there women don't women gamble at home more and online than actual casinos well I don't know okay and that's but they do go to casinos for the money they want the money online you know you got to put a credit card and and that creates another another big problem you know because their husbands might find out well the other thing is that they have these overseas accounts so the credit so if your credit card bill comes in it'll have a bogus name well I see okay so you couldn't you could gamble online mm-hmm whether it's poker or roulette or whatever you could gamble online and draw them you know your max out your credit cards but why does it have a foreign name are they illegal Cecilia oh that's illegal so it's so it's comparable to the far the the pharmacies that are out of this country selling drugs in the car right exactly people you know nowadays pharmacies people want to save money they're very expensive but the gambling is they're bringing it now into your home right now you don't have to leave the house you don't you could just lock yourself in a room with your laptop and play for hours and then come out owing $5,000 or basically in the debt so then they got to figure out so here's the thing in the morning you wake up anxieties anxiety oh my god how do I tell my wife I can't tell my wife so if I can't tell my wife if I continue gambling I can win that money right and then this paid off and then they don't realize right the gambling mentality is this is part because it gets distorted it's distorted thinking when you hang on you when you have that a gambler will think well I'll just play I'll get the money and I'll pay my bag that's right that's that's it that's simple yeah doesn't work it's the house always wins I know that's why they're there for they're there to make money right you know and yes people do win and and they have won but basically the casinos wins the lotto all of these Dave they're there to make the money and they do I thought as I was saying so how many people do you see at this point I have about 18 people aging okay and but but again is a lot of them you know to get them to come in I'm safe really very hard to get people to acknowledge they have a gambling issue it's true and the thing is a lot of them saying well you know what i gamble but it's not that bad that's what they say about everything you know that's the you know that is the people that do drugs to say the same thing they called Emily it's not that bad it's the denial right you know they call gambling the silent disease that's right one is because if it's in the family the family doesn't want to talk about it that's right but the gambler himself is being deceptive he's being quiet he sees doing things under sneak they don't if they're the bill payers mm-hmm they're juggling things that's right you're juggling things and they live a world you know when you talk about gambling you know we have the regular life that everybody's living but the gambling world is a separate world you're dealing with with it's like the nether world if it's we if you're dealing with loan sharks and you're dealing with bookies it's a different mentality and they those are the ones that are really scary because they will teach you a lesson if you're not paying them back yeah wow it's very very heavy really it is it is dark it's very very dark that's it it's very dark yeah but when you have that compulsion you will take those risks yeah you will do whatever it takes to either get the money so you could pay or to get the money to pay the the big like they say yeah you know that's the gambling has the high Fraser Wow you know and it's yeah I know that the highest rate of suicide one of the highest rate I'm depending again under studies but the it's it's they have no other recourse they feel this is it they're gonna foreclose their mortgage they're gonna shut off their lights I mean I was reading the other day a woman went drove into a parking lot of a mall and shot herself because she found out that the marshals were going to come to the victim Wow you know so come on that's that's a lot well think about the pain that they're in that they have no other recourse than to take their alive I said it's very sad very very sad and you know what this we could keep talking about this for probably another show right so right we're gonna have to ask you to come back I definitely will and talk to us about more stuff because we could just keep talking about well the main thing is to let them know that treatment is available and if you really work work it hard you can reduce this this thing that's living inside of you yes you could shrink it down it's like the stigma with drugs and alcohol saying it's reducing the stigma letting people know that this help out there and it's a shame that there's only one of you in the entire county there's only one gambling but I'm glad that you're here I mean your program at the Lexington Recovery Center so thank you for the work that you do well thank you very much for having me on my pleasure and I'll definitely come back okay good thank you very much thank you see you next time

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