It could save your life (or the life of someone you know)!
If you think that you may have a gambling problem, read this book now before it is too late. Gambling addiction is exploding around the world and it is causing an alarming increase in suicides. Last year in the United States gambling-caused suicides killed approximately the same number of people as all homicides combined!
These gambling related suicides are preventable, and this book tells you why, and how. If you have, or suspect you have a gambling problem, this book could save your life. If you know someone who you suspect has a gambling problem, this book could save their life.
After dealing with suicide prevention, the book goes on to give you the most comprehensive information anywhere about all the available treatment and recovery options for gambling addiction. Therapists, researchers, counselors, and educators will also learn valuable concepts and tools for dealing with this exploding and dangerous addiction
Sheryl Anderson, Vanguard problem gambling inpatient treatment center at Project Turnabout. Vanguard is the nation’s premier inpatient treatment program for gambling addiction: “Mr. Dahl’s insightful analyses into the characteristics of problem gambling are significant and important in our current understanding of this growing epidemic. Psychologists, gambling counselors, and problem gamblers should all get this book.”
Devonna Rowlette: Washington State Certified Gambling Counselor II: “I intend to provide this book to all my patients, and I will recommend that every therapist I know do the same. It was also a very pleasant surprise that the book was a pleasure to read. It was very well written, even funny at times. I believe this book will become the go-to first book for the problem gambling industry for a very long time to come.”
D.G. Smith, Co-founder of Youth Emergency Services (Y.E.S) one of the nation’s first phone-in crisis hotlines. It grew from the original location in Minneapolis to over a hundred affiliates in cities across the country: “Suicide is preventable. Intervention is possible. My experience with crisis helplines informs me of that reality. Mr. Dahl’s specific step-by-step plan to get the problem gambler to prepare for a suicide attempt well before they get to that awful moment of decision not only has never been proposed, I believe it is pure genius. It will prevent completed suicides in the thousands!”
Keith S. Whyte, Executive Director, National Council on Problem Gambling “This timely book on preventing problem gambling-related suicide is packed with practical tips and recommendations. Gambling addiction is a life-threatening disorder and needs to be taken extremely seriously.”
Insidious: in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way, but actually with grave effect.
Gambling Disorder (a.k.a. compulsive gambling or gambling addiction) is an insidious disease. It is increasing dramatically in the United States and around the world. Only a few decades ago, the only places to gamble legally in the U.S. were Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or the racetrack. Today, there are large casinos in virtually every state – over a thousand full-scale casinos with over a million slot machines. Not only are gambling opportunities available within a short driving distance, they are available in our homes and in our hands through mobile devices.
One is only a Google search away from reading reports from gambling commissions around the world to realize that over half of those who gambled, used mobile devices, with slot type of gaming being steadily popular as the boundaries between social casino gaming and commercial gambling become increasingly blurred. With this sudden exponential increase in access comes the rapid and significant increase in addicted gamblers.
“Heroin could no longer numb my pain, but slots could.”
Regardless of the type of gambling, gambling addiction can lead to suicide. The emphasis of Mr. Dahl’s book is on slot machine gambling. Slot machines are called the “crack-cocaine” of gambling for a reason. The near-miss and other design features along with the ability to spend more time on devices (games) without interruption contributes to slots being king in the gambling world in terms of profit but also for addiction potential. The above profound statement, made by a person experiencing a gambling disorder and issues of unresolved grief, is all the heartbreaking proof you need.
Problem gambling is a public health issue that can have serious consequences for all involved. As there continues to be increased access to all forms of gambling across the United States through state-sanctioned gambling, as well as technology advances prompting on-line gambling, and changes in legislation legalizing many forms of gambling that were previously unavailable, adults and in particular youth, are likely to continue to experience negative consequences of problem gambling.
As reported by the National Council on Problem Gambling, one in five individuals experiencing a gambling disorder will attempt suicide, a rate many times higher than any other addiction. An explosion of newly addicted gamblers could result in a disturbing and dramatic increase in gambling related suicides. We have already seen it with slot machines over the past couple of decades. This sad and dangerous upward trend will continue and accelerate for years to come. Thousands of lives are lost every year. Families are shattered. The issue of suicide by people who have lost everything to gambling must be addressed and ultimately dealt with in a way that has a positive impact.
Mr. Dahl’s book is relevant, particularly in today’s changing world. Many people find themselves gambling to escape the stressors they have encountered in life. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about isolation, grief, trauma, boredom, and financial problems; all risk factors associated with problem gambling.
Starting from it’s original title – Please Don’t Kill Yourself Today (You Can Always Do It Tomorrow) – and ending with the appendix which makes a reasonable calculation of annual suicides by problem gamblers, Mr. Dahl’s book is a breakthrough in bringing gambling-related suicides to the forefront of our thinking about gambling addiction.
Everyone experiencing a gambling problem should read this book. More than half of the book outlines ways to help with gambling treatment and recovery. But I also want to offer advice to all the counselors and trained professionals that read this book.
First, understand that problem gamblers are extremely secretive about their gambling, in large part due to feelings of shame. If you are a mental health provider, or an addictions counselor, it is very likely that you are already seeing someone who has been negatively impacted by someone’s gambling, if not their own. Have the conversation and screen for problem gambling. There are high rates of co-occurring conditions in people experiencing problem gambling. Depression and alcohol use disorder are two of the most common.
Second, if you are treating someone for their gambling problem, continue to assess for and discuss suicidal ideation with them. Since you are reading this book right now, you will soon learn Mr. Dahl’s specific plan for preventing the gambler from committing suicide. Please discuss and work that plan with your client. It might just save their life.
I cannot emphasize enough how important this book is to every addiction counselor and mental health professional. Please spread the word to all your colleagues. Let’s save lives!
Project Turnabout’s Vanguard Center for Gambling Recovery
General Information About Gambling Addiction
This chapter discusses gambling caused suicides. It examines how difficult it is to know the causes of suicides, and how, and why the reported suicide numbers are so significantly understated. It also discusses why gambling related suicides are so impulsive, and why they are very preventable.
This chapter lays out in great detail this book’s unique three-step plan that will prevent impulsive gambling related suicides. Every addicted gambler needs to learn and practice this plan. It will save their life.
This chapter defines in detail the little-known ten-day detox period that addicted gamblers go through after a long gambling session. The detox period for gamblers is similar to detox for stimulant abuse. The gambler needs to be aware of how their decision-making skills are compromised during this period.
Surviving by not committing suicide is only half the battle – the addicted gambler needs to stop gambling. This chapter sets the story of recovery and how to do it.
The whys and hows of getting a therapist to guide your recovery.
Insights concerning GA, and how to get the biggest benefits from attending GA meetings.
A thirty-day inpatient program for addicted gamblers is a powerful tool for restoring the addicts normal brain function and providing the knowledge to transition into a successful recovery.
This chapter discusses the Smart Recovery program. Like GA, it is a peer run, no cost, weekly meeting. It is not a 12-step program, it is designed for those who are not comfortable with the 12-step approach.
CBT is a popular and ubiquitous therapy for nearly every mental disorder and addiction. Several gambling treatment centers claim that they use CBT. This chapter claims that many of these places have misstated how CBT can help gambling addiction and then it discusses how CBT can and should be used.
Mindfulness is good for everything, including gambling addiction.
The DBT concept of radical acceptance is a powerful process for treating gambling addiction.
The 12-step programs insist that you are addicted because your willpower is not enough. It is my position that, in the end, your recovery relies on you using your willpower effectively. Learn how to increase your willpower when it is most needed.
There comes a moment before a relapse when you are fighting the urge to go gamble. Every relapse begins with a dangerous loss in that difficult fight. This chapter will give you the weapons to win that potentially existential event.
Starve the beast – a comprehensive look at the many available options for managing your finances in order to limit your ability to gamble.
A mishmash of ideas from hypnosis, to getting a dog, to moving, and other interesting ideas not commonly offered for treating gambling addiction.
Pathological gambling, compulsive gambling, problem gambling, disordered gambling, addicted gambling – what is the proper term to use when describing someone who is destroying their life by gambling too much.
This is one of the most important parts of the book. It uses all the available data on suicides and gambling addiction to create a detailed mathematical model for estimating annual gambling related suicides.