From Theory to PracticeHow to use knowledge to support clients to make changes in their gambling and decrease the risks. Sylvie Smith, BA, ICADC Problem Gambling/Addictions CounsellorHomewood Community Addiction Services (CADS)
What is Gambling?• Wildman (1997) has suggested that the important thing to remember about gambling is that it is “a conscious, deliberate effort to stake valuables, usually but not always currency, on how some event happens to turn out.”• “…risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.“ Maine poker law: section 952(4)
The Big Change1. Long ago, most gambling had religious and ceremonial functions.2. Later, gambling became a recreational activity played among individuals.3. Most recently, gambling has become a business.Taken from Stacked Deck, Williams R & Wood, R
The House Edge: What it Means• U.S. citizens lost $92 billion to the gambling industry in 2007.• Canadians lost $14 billion to gambling in 2008. Taken from Stacked Deck, Williams R & Wood, R
Gambling and the Brain• Dopamine is the chemical messenger/ neurotransmitter in our brains that is responsible for feelings such as pleasure and excitement.• With repeated gambling the body increasingly relies on this stimulus to maintain rewarding feelings, which in turn causes unpleasantness when in withdrawal.• It is said that the release during gambling is 3-4x that of natural rewards such as food or sex (Mirenowicz & Schultz, 1994). (like a “high”) After sometime, this decreases, causing the person to gamble more and perhaps spend more to get the dopamine rush.• This is why you may hear: “It’s not about the money”.
Various Risk Factors• being young (teens to mid-20s) and/or male• gambling at an early age• having close access to gambling opportunities• having friends who gamble• having parents who are heavy gamblers or problem gamblers• having other addictions• having an early big win• not understanding gambling fallacies• playing rapid forms of gambling with a high frequency of betting (for example, slots and other EGMs)• having difficulty controlling impulses• mental health issues
A Comprehensive Review of Problem Gambling Self-Assessment Tools for Use on an Internet Platform funded by the OPGRC Internet Gambling Risks • Easy of accessInternet Gambling Risks • Availability • E-commerce • Gambling under the influence • Underage • Solitary play • Anonymity Dr. Chris Perlman, PhD, University of Waterloo Michelle Nogueira, RSSW, CAC II, CPGC, Homewood Community Addiction Services Sylvie Smith, BA, ICADC, Homewood Community Addiction Services Suzanne Rath, BA, MSc Candidate, University of Guelph
When do people seek support?• When the gambling is an interfering or predominant issue and is leading to other consequences.• It is usually financial, legal or familial issues that facilitate problem gamblers to seek support.• Unlike substance use, there are no physical signs of problem gambling in a family. That’s why problem gambling is sometimes described as the “invisible addiction”.
Harm Reduction and Gambling• Individuals who gamble can be support using the Stages of Change• Precontemplators seek support due to external consequences, such as court order, work place, family and/or bankruptcy• Important to be non-judgemental and help individuals by educating them about gambling in a neutral manner.
Harm Reduction and Gambling• Set limits with money• Pay attention to physical needs• Use only allocated money• Set time limits for play• If a problem is identified, Self-Exclusion can be a way to reduce harm.
Low Risk Gambling Guidelines? Using National Population Data to Develop Low-risk Gambling Guidelines, Shawn Currie, PHD., C., Psych,Funded by the Alberta Gaming Research Institute, 2004 Frequency: 2-3 times per month Duration: 60 minutes per session Dollars: $75 per month Percent Income: 2% monthly income
Gambling and GamingThis is the first generation of youthto grow up in a culture where gambling is:• Aggressively promoted• Legalized• Socially accepted• Accessible (internet)
Harm Reduction: Teens Who Gamble/Game•Balance your activities. (Have more than onething you do for fun!)•Set a time limit.•Take a break.•Stop if its interfering with important things inyour life.•Talk to someone if you have trouble stoppingwhen you want to.
If Abstinence is the Choice…• Clients can remain abstinent from the game(s) they are seeking support with and set limits around other forms of gambling.
(CADS) Problem Gambling Services Assessment (family/friends as well as individuals who have issues with gambling) • Individual Counselling • Education • Case Management • Referrals to treatment or other community agencies • Follow up/Aftercare Educational/Support Groups • Nature Walk • Horticulture Therapy sessions • “Bored” Games • Night of Inspiration • Family and Friends Session • Stressed Spelled Backwards is Desserts: Coping with the HolidaysCOMING SOON…Concurrent Disorders and Gambling Group
Problem Gambling Services OfferedADAPT Problem Gambling Out-Patient Treatment Program • A five-day intensive day program offered semi-annually in partnership with ADAPT (Halton Alcohol, Drug and Problem Gambling Assessment, Prevention and Treatment)Gambling Craving Helpline: 519-824-1010 ext. COPE (2673)Off-Site Self-Exclusion • Flamborough Downs Security officers attend once a month to offer self-exclusion at the CADS office Sylvie Smith, B.A., I.C.A.D.C. 519-836-5733 ext 2344 firstname.lastname@example.org
Change is the essence of life.Be willing to surrender what you are forwhat you could become.