Gambling addiction is a lonely place. Those who suffer from compulsive gambling often believe no one understands the pain, isolation, and destruction it causes. Your Life Iowa, has a crisis hotline — 1-800 BETS OFF — specifically designated for individuals who think or know their gambling habits are out of control.
Funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) under the Division of Behavioral Health, Your Life Iowa offers resources to Iowans who struggling with mental health problems related to addictive behavior.
Concerned friends and family members can also call the hotline for help.
“When you don’t know who to turn to about a problem with alcohol, drugs, gambling, suicidal thoughts or mental health, Your Life Iowa is here for you 24/7. We provide free, confidential support and connect you to resources meant to help you get your life back on track.”
What to expect
Because gambling addiction isn’t one-size-fits-all, an individual’s specific needs will determine what to expect when you call 1-800-BETS OFF.
The hotline is a safe space for compulsive gamblers to unburden themselves and get connected to outside resources. The programs are designed for addicts, but callers aren’t forced into a specific treatment protocol. Instead, a caller can expect a kind ear and gentle, non-confrontational questions. The goal is to assure anyone who’s struggling that they’re not alone. There are numerous treatment programs and licensed counselors waiting and ready to help.
Additionally, some 1-800 BETS OFF counselors are former addicts and know what it feels like to lose control. Empathy and knowledge can be powerful tools on the road to recovery.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know if a gambling habit has gotten out of control, but if you’re finding yourself preoccupied by the possibility, it might be time to seek assistance.
Call 1-800 BETS OFF if …
- You’re secretive about betting. Hiding or lying about gambling habits is a red flag. The dishonesty can lead to anxiety, depression, and shame. Counselors at 1-800-BETS OFF don’t chastise people who are struggling. They simply listen, ask thoughtful questions, and offer insights into beneficial treatment programs.
- You feel hopeless or suicidal. Compulsive gamblers often feel like their lives have spun out of control. Many have lost jobs, partners, friends, and life savings. But, 1-800 BETS OFF can be the light at the end of the tunnel. One call can change your life for the better.
- Your gambling is leading to financial problems. Whether it leads to the occasional insufficient funds warning from your bank or you’ve stolen from a friend, family member or employer, chances are your gambling habit is a problem. This often leads to shame and fractured relationships which makes it difficult to communicate with people close to an individual who can’t stay afloat financially. Talking to someone who’s judgment-free might be just what you need.
- You are having difficulty managing your gambling. If you feel like you can’t stop betting, it’s time to get help.
- Your family and friends have expressed concern. If your loved ones tell you they’re worried, it’s time to take stock of your behavior. It can be difficult not to be defensive or play the blame game with people close to you. A trained coordinator can be a powerful tool for recovery. Some have struggled with addiction themselves.
- You know and love someone with a gambling problem. Counselors at 1-800 BETS OFF have training to talk to anyone affected by gambling addiction.