Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers made a proclamation that Wisconsin would be joining the National Council on Problem Gambling in spreading awareness about potential gambling disorders during the month of March. National Problem Gambing Awareness Month's purpose is to encourage people to talk with friends, family, patients, and clients about recognizing and identifying potential gambling problems.

A gambling disorder or addiction is defined as gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage relationships with people, family, or vocational pursuits according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Key indicators of a problem include a need to bet more money more frequently. A loss of control over betting despite negative consequences. Gambling addiction can lead to financial ruin, destroyed careers, and people to lose their families. In some cases, it can even drive someone to commit suicide. Gambling addiction is a very serious problem.

Gambling addiction can affect anyone. While gambling isn't a substance abuse problem, it affects the brain in the same way. It alters a person's mood and people can develop a tolerance to gambling, increasing the amount they are betting to get the same thrill.

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Do you think you may have a gambling problem? The Wisconsin Department Of Health Services has an online quiz that can help identify warning signs for you or a loved one that may have a gambling problem.

Some of us may know what it is like to have a gambling problem, or know someone who has. I've personally seen it greatly affect several people in my life, and it is a real addiction that can cause serious damage. Please reach out for help for you or a loved one by calling the problem gambling hotline at 800-GAMBLE or 800-426-2535.

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