Problem Gambling – Carissa D’Amico LMSW, ICGC-1, Outpatient Clinician


8:22 here at FM 97.3 WZBG. Third Wednesday of every month. We visit with folks from McCall Behavioral Health Network. And this time we’re connecting with Carissa D’Amico on the live line. Carissa, good morning. Thanks for joining us.

Good morning, Dale. Thanks so much for having me on.

So Carissa is a social worker, and she’s got advanced certifications in gambling addictions. And we’re going to talk about that this morning. You know, there’s so many ways to gamble now. And it seems like it just keeps getting broader and broader. And where people used to have to go to casinos, now you can do casino gambling on your phone. I mean, there’s just so much.

So problem gambling prevention, it’s time to share some tips this morning. So I imagine that that has made your job considerably busier with all the different ways in which people can gamble and maybe get addicted to it.

It has.

We have a bunch of different people from a bunch of different backgrounds that we didn’t have before gambling went on the internet. Right. But gambling can be a fun leisure activity. In order to do that, we do have tips for responsible gambling. Things like setting limits on how much time and money you spend gambling, avoid chasing losses, meaning avoid gambling more to regain the money you might have lost, avoiding gambling while under the influence, taking breaks from gambling, and staying educated about the risks associated with gambling like financial, mental health, relationships, legal problems, work, health, and things like that.

There’s a lot of advice out there now. I mean, even to their credit, gambling houses or organizations or apps that provide gambling, they do have websites or apps or information to try to keep you from getting into trouble. And that’s all to the good. And I guess the idea here is, the key word here is prevention. So let’s talk about some of those signs that gambling may be coming a problem.

Yeah, if you’re thinking about gambling or you have a preoccupation with gambling, planning your next gambling event, it might be a problem. If you’re experiencing urges to gamble or lying about gambling, if you have debts from gambling, if you’re borrowing money to gamble or neglecting your responsibilities at work, school, family. And it can also increase mood swings. to get, increase your anxiety or your irritability, then it might be a problem. Right. I would imagine one of the most heartbreaking aspects is, again, when you start neglecting responsibilities, when it starts showing up at work, when it starts showing up, you know, in relationships with your family members and your loved ones, when it gets in the way of that, that is a huge red flag.

And that’s when things can get tragic because it it goes well outside Just the person who is who is dealing with this addiction and brings a lot more people into the problem

Yeah gambling is a really big problem It’s getting more popular and people just aren’t as educated about it as is needed since all the changes to how you could gamble. But if you are experiencing an issue related to gambling, help is available. We at McCaw have clinicians who specialize in treating problem gambling. You can also reach out to the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling and there’s a 24-hour problem gambling helpline and there’s also peer support groups like Gamblers Anonymous.

If you’re joining us this morning, Carissa D’Amico is our guest. She’s with the McCall Behavioral Health Network, works out of their Waterbury Clinic. We’re talking about gambling addictions this morning. So when we when we talk about being able to help folks who are dealing with gambling, what’s in the toolbox for McCall? What are some of the things you can bring to bear that can help turn that situation around?

Yeah, so I can share a little story about someone who came in for treatment. So an individual came to treatment because their partner was pushing them in, and when they came to treatment, they had a vague idea of how gambling was impacting their marriage but not their life. So they decided they might want to cut down on the frequency that they were gambling. So when we worked together, we were able to kind of look at all the areas that it might be impacting, which increases person’s desire to cut back.

And when we used some of these tools, like creating a budget to decrease gambling debts or debts related to gambling, when we talked about maybe physically being present for your family, but mentally thinking about either the consequences from gambling or the next time you were going to gamble. They kind of, this kind of really helped them to see that they might be more committed to cutting back. So we were able to create a reasonable budget to pay off the debts associated with gambling. to work together so that the marriage could start to be repaired. And this person saw noticeable differences in their life, especially surrounding anxiety, fear, and the distress that gambling caused throughout their daily living.

So we’re still working on potentially not gambling at all, but a cut down on gambling is a win, so.

So it sounds like in this particular case the individual wasn’t really consciously aware, fully aware of just how deep in they were. And maybe it takes that objective viewpoint and that treatment between a loved one who intervenes and treatment at McCall to say, let’s look at the seriousness of your situation. Let’s look seriously about where you are right now in your life And and how things are going and I guess that’s got to be quite an eye-opener

Absolutely, I mean I feel like we all have behaviors that might affect our lives But we can’t always see them clearly when it’s us so just having somebody else to Go back and forth with talk with and really start to see oh, maybe this is impacting my mental health Maybe this is impacting my health. You know different areas that we wouldn’t generally think about.

Let’s expand on that as we wrap up the show, Carissa. Believe it or not, our time goes very quickly and is wrapping up. Carissa D’Amico is our guest this morning. She’s a social worker with the folks at the McCall Behavioral Health Network with advanced certifications in gambling addictions. In terms of a takeaway, for somebody who may think they may have a gambling problem. Can we leave them with a with a closing thought about how to get towards some help?

Absolutely, you can always call McCall We’re always happy to help and we’re always happy to work with you on what your goals are We’re not going to push you into never gambling again or do something you don’t want to do We’re going to work with you on what your personal goals are So you come to McCall. Like I said, there’s peer support groups. You can call the problem gambling helpline. And yeah.

Great place to start.

All right, Carissa, we certainly appreciate your time.

And as we said, there is so much pressure to gamble now because there’s so many opportunities to do so that we want to keep folks out of trouble. And if they feel like they’re getting into trouble, get them the help that they need. Thanks for your time this morning and have a great day.

Thanks, Dale. You too. All right, take care.

Carissa D’Amico, McCall Behavioral Health Network on this morning’s Carissa D’Amico, McCall Behavioral Health Network on this morning’s edition here on FM 97.3.