What is Compulsive Gambling?
Compulsive gambling is a progressive disease, much like an addiction to alcohol or drugs. In many cases, the gambling addiction is hidden until the gambler becomes unable to function without gambling, and he or she begins to exclude all other activities from their lives.
Gambling for most people is a recreational activity. However, for an estimated 3% to 5% of the general population, gambling results in an addiction. Estimates as high as 25% to 30% of alcoholics and drug addicts are also addicted to gambling.
Inability to stop gambling often results in financial devastation, broken homes, employment problems, criminal acts and suicide attempts.
Since 1980, the American Psychiatric Association (in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual -- DSM-IV), has listed "Pathological (Compulsive) Gambling" as a diagnosable and treatable illness. The criteria for diagnosing the disease are listed here.
Compulsive gambling also affects the family of the gambler. The Chart of the Effects of Compulsive Gambling on the Spouse outlines some of the traits associated with a typical relationship affected by this devastating disease.
If you or someone you know or love has a gambling problem, please seek help. An excellent source for help is Gamblers Anonymous for the gambler, or Gam-Anon for the family and friends.
We offer consultation, interventions, group, individual, and family counseling, couple's workshops, referrals, evaluations, and expert testimony. In addition, we provide educational seminars, workshops, and training.
Who Can Utilize Our Services?
It is our goal to raise the awareness of those who are in a position to help compulsive gamblers and their families.
Arnie Wexler is a Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor (CCGC), and was the Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey for eight years.
Arnie is one of the foremost experts on compulsive gambling in this country, and has been involved in helping compulsive gamblers for over 30 years. He has appeared on many of America's top television shows, including Oprah, NightLine, and 48 Hours. He has been quoted and profiled in hundreds of magazines and newspapers.
Arnie has presented workshops and training seminars nationally and internationally. He has spoken to many gaming industry executives, Fortune 500 corporations, legislative bodies, and on college campuses across the nation. He has also done trainings for the National Football League (NFL).
Since 1994 both Arnie and Sheila have trained hundreds of professionals working in Addiction Treatment Centers including Sierra Tuscon and Betty Ford Center. They trained US Army Addiction Counselors at Camp Zama, Japan. In addition, they have provided extensive training to casino personnel and have written Responsible Gaming Policies for major gaming companies.
Together they have authored many articles on the subject of Compulsive Gambling, and are currently in the process of writing a book.
Sheila WexlerSheila Wexler is a Licensed,Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC), and a Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor (CCGC). She has been working in the field of addictions since 1977.
Sheila has worked in residential treatment, out-patient services and private practice. She has had extensive experience in counseling the addicted person and their families. Sheila is one of the pioneers in the treatment of compulsive gambling.
In 1987, she developed and implemented a compulsive gambling in-patient treatment program at New Hope Foundation in Marlboro, New Jersey. Sheila is the author of a chart on the effects of compulsive gambling on the family. She has instructed Addiction Education classes throughout the country. She has also done extensive training on expanding addiction services to include compulsive gambling treatment.