Bob Cabaniss, founder and executive director of Williamsville Wellness, a facility in Richmond, Va., licensed to treat gambling addiction, says with many upsets during the first few rounds of March Madness, and many disappointments in bracket picks, there is great concern for problem gamblers during this time of year.
March Madness has high stakes both financially and emotionally for the 3 million U.S. gambling addicts, Cabaniss says.
"This has been a particularly unpredictable NCAA tournament, and problem gamblers have been hit especially hard," Cabaniss says in a statement. "Being aware of the warning signs of problem gambling can help those with this compulsive and dangerous addiction."
However, gambling addiction is not an isolated illness, it is frequently coupled with depression, emotional disorders and substance abuse.
Identifying addiction warning signs can help identify whether a common pastime has slipped into a harmful addiction, Cabaniss says.
Cabaniss says gambling addiction warning signs in adults include:
-- Talking about betting frequently.
-- Committing financially driven crimes such as check forgery.
-- Increasing tobacco, alcohol or drug use.
-- Reading the sports pages compulsively.
-- Never admitting to losing.
-- Borrowing excessive money from friends.
-- More irritable, restless and isolative than usual.