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ADHD: Concerned About Brother's Gambling

answered 02:17 PM EST, Sat June 09, 2012
anonymous anonymous
Does having ADHD increase a person’s risks of having a gambling addiction? I am seeing some worrying behaviors from my brother but he has not been gambling for very long so I am not sure if it is just a novelty thing or if he is getting into trouble for real.

Colleen Koncilja Says...

Colleen Koncilja C. Koncilja
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For many people gambling is a fun, enjoyable and harmless activity.  For others, gambling becomes a coping mechanism to help with stress, anxiety, depression and other stressful things they may experience.  And for others gambling becomes a compulsive and problematic process addiction where there is loss of control, chasing losses, preoccupation, and they begin to have difficulty with relationships, honesty, handling life's responsibilities and managing their time, because the action and escape that gambling provides becomes much more important and is needed to feel normal.  People who are in the process of developing an addiction to gambling begin to difficulty coping on many different levels.  

There has been a greater understanding of compulsive gambling in the past 30 years. More and more research is being done to help guide professionals to know how to identify, assess and treat those who are dealing with problematic and compulsive gambling.  Research shows that many compulsive gamblers also suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

Here is a link that speaks to some of the research that has been done in looking at correlations between compulsive gambling and attention issues.  

What exactly is happening for your brother is hard to tell at this time.  I encourage you to voice your concerns and talk with him, so you can learn more about the extent of his gambling.  If you are concerned that it has become problematic, perhaps he would be willing to see a counselor who specializes in compulsive gambling, to assess what would be most beneficial for him and to see what type of support is available.  

I am not sure what area you reside, however, you can contact your state's gambling hotline and they could share area resources with you.  These resources may include counselors who have specialized training, as well as 12 step support groups like Gamblers Anonymous or Gam-Anon.

It sounds like you are concerned and want to be as supportive to your brother as possible.  He is fortunate to have you in his life.  I wish you and him all the best.

Colleen Koncilja, LCSW, CADC, ICGC-II, BACC

850 W. Bartlett Road Suite 14C Bartlett IL 60103

T 630 864-7267

Website www.healthandhealingtherapy.com

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