University of Buffalo Treats Gambling Addiction through Innovative Programs

University of Buffalo Treats Gambling Addiction through Innovative Programs

Introduction: What is Problem Gambling?

What is Problem GamblingResearchers estimate that out of every 100 gamblers, three to five of them are problem gamblers. This means that instead of gambling for pleasure, or gambling as part of a business, they are gambling because they feel they have to. Symptoms of problem gambling include feeling a compulsive need to visit a gambling location and feeling they must win in order to walk away from a game. Other symptoms of gambling could include financial trouble, and trouble with relationships. Problem gamblers might be depressed, and they might also have a tendency to abuse alcohol or drugs. If they don’t receive treatment for their gambling addiction, problem gamblers may commit crimes in order to keep gambling. Some problem gamblers commit fraud or embezzlement. Other problem gamblers may steal or borrow money from family members and friends in order to gamble. Problem gamblers are a problem not only within a family, but within a society as well.

Many states are trying to figure out their gambling problems as well as their problem gamblers. While some states have not gotten off the ground with respect to their programs to treat problem gamblers, the University of Buffalo has leapt into the diagnosis and treatment of problem gamblers.

University of Buffalo Problem Gambling Program

University of BuffaloFor the past few years, the University of Buffalo has been trying to provide innovative programs to find and treat problem gamblers. The university is the research partner of a gambling program that spans several years. A two-day training program has been done to help social workers, family therapists, mental health counselors and other mental health advocates. Doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners can also be part of the training program. The university has the initial two-day program, as well as ongoing educational and training programs for people who work directly with problem gamblers.

The idea for the training program is that when health professionals are able to recognize the signs of problem gambling, they will be able to help problem gamblers. There are resources available to help problem gamblers access treatment, and be able to continue therapy to help them with their gambling addictions. Topics include how to openly communicate with a patient who may have a gambling problem, and how to access resources for people with a gambling problem. Most important, the university wants clinicians to understand that gambling addictions are true addictions, rather than vices.

Towards a Healthier Lifestyle

The University of Buffalo is hopeful that by giving clinicians the tools they need to address their gambling concerns with their patients, they are helping the entire family. Gambling addictions, like other addictions, affect the entire family, rather than just the gambler. In addition, those clinicians who finish the two-day training class will be able to be on a referral list from the state of New York. Social service agencies and other agencies will be able to refer problem gamblers to places where they can get help by using the list.

The university is hoping to create a databank of professionals who will be able to treat gamblers who have a gambling problem. At the moment, there are far more gamblers who need help than there are gambling programs to treat them. The university stated this is due in part to the rapid increase of gambling opportunities without enough resources to handle problem gamblers. With a new push for a gambling program, the university is hoping that eventually there will be a network of clinicians and therapists to help problem gamblers in the state of New York. Also, the university stated that other universities are looking at their program in order to adapt it for use in their own states. Eventually, the program could be adapted for nationwide use.

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Richard Holmes was born in Tampa, Florida and studied computer science at Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola Florida. A devout Baptist, volunteer Sunday School teacher and online gaming fan, Richard works as a part-time systems administrator at Baptist Hospital and part-time professional blogger specializing in statistics, probability and computer science issues. He is an ardent believer in the future of artificial intelligence as a tool for transforming human society for the better, particularly in the area of health care and modern medicine. A chess player, and competitive online gamer Richard actively participates on online gaming tournaments in his free time.