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Veterans, active military at risk of problem gambling

Today, America honors the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Memorial Day also serves as a reminder to support the many veterans and military personnel struggling with mental health issues and addiction, including problem gambling.

Active military members
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, as many as 56,000 active duty personnel meet the criteria for problem gambling disorders. There are a variety of factors that contribute to problem gambling in active service members. Some troops may be deployed to isolated locations with few forms of entertainment. Military bases may also be near casinos. On bases outside the continental US, there are more than 3,000 slot machines.

Veterans
Research finds that veterans are two to three times more likely to have a gambling problem. Adjusting to civilian life, securing employment, and reestablishing personal relationships can cause stress. In addition, many veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Gambling may be a means of escape or avoidance—and become an addiction.

Support services
If you or a loved one has a gambling problem, help is here 24/7. For immediate help, call the free, confidential Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or text 4hope to 741741, the Crisis Text Line. In Ohio, treatment for problem gambling is free. Not sure if it’s problem gambling? Take a two-minute risk assessment quiz to find out and connect with educational resources. 

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