is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and this year’s theme is "Have the
2003, the McNeese State University Gambling Treatment Program has reached out to
educate the general public about the warning signs of problem
gambling and to raise awareness about help availablelocally through
radio, TV and billboards.
are trying to combat the stigma attached to problem gambling and make the
public aware of McNeese’s Gambling Treatment Program,” according to Mari
Harris, an addiction counselor with the program.
The primary intention
of the gambling treatment program was to conduct research in this particular
area of addiction. Since then, it has grown to be the only on-campus counseling
service offered to anyone - free of charge - on a Louisiana campus with treatment services conducted by specifically
trained counselors, using evidence-based treatment strategies.
"The McNeese Gambling Treatment Program has been delivering free gambling
treatment for problem gamblers and their families for more than 15 years,”
to some studies, 5 percent of the population suffers from problem gambling. "That
means roughly 3,700 people in Lake Charles are putting their livelihood at risk
every day in truck stops, bars, casinos or in online gaming,” says Harris.
said people feel there’s a stigma attached to gambling addiction and gambling
problems. "But this is a problem that transcends race, gender, age or level of
the national awareness campaign during March, most clients come in by word of
mouth. "It speaks volumes to me that so many of our clients tell others about
us,” she states. "That tells me we’re making progress.”
not admitting a weakness,” adds Jimmy Trahan, another counselor in the program.
"It actually shows a real inner strength when you can admit you have a problem
controlling your gambling behavior.”
Harris says that people who receive
treatment often stop gambling and experience improvement in depression, anxiety
and worry. However, many
times a problem gambler isn't ready to make a change.
gambling treatment program is using an intervention
called theCommunity Reinforcement Approach and Family Training that
helps families learn to motivate their loved ones
to make changes, which increases the chances the problem gambler will come into
treatment,” explains Harris. "CRAFT is a positive, supportive approach
that protects family relationshipsbecause it doesn't use confrontation.”
For more information about problem
gambling and the McNeese program, call 337-475-5964 or visit online at www.mcneese.edu/gambling.