NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — The Lexington Center for Recovery, a nonprofit organization, has received $88,000 from Westchester County to begin a treatment program for people with gambling addictions, said Rod Correa, a substance-abuse and gambling counselor at the center.
“Gambling addicts suffer the same consequences as alcoholics and drug users,” said Correa in an email. “Their gambling devastates marriages, families, jeopardizes jobs ...” In addition, he said, compulsive gamblers have the highest suicide rate among addicts, including alcoholics and drug users.
The new program is “available for all cultures and socioeconomic status, from adolescents to senior citizens,” Correa said. “Besides Gamblers Anonymous, problem gamblers are not aware that treatment is available, and now, right here in New Rochelle. We make the treatment affordable; after all, a problem gambler might not have much money.”
Treatment is also available for spouses and family affected by this disease, he said.
Correa further explains the new program:
Q: Why is the program around?
A: Pathological gambling is a disorder of the brain. One of its characteristics is a desire or temptation to perform some behavior, despite its devastating consequence. Pathological gamblers cannot control the impulse to gamble even if they want to. As a result, marriages have failed and families have been destroyed. Homes, jobs and relationships have been lost. In its final stages, all that is left are immense debts, which cannot be paid back. Of all individuals with addictive disorders, pathological gamblers have the highest rate of suicide.
Understanding the need for treatment for problem gambling, New York State has begun to fund treatment initiatives. Presently, Lexington Center for Recovery is the only facility in Westchester County offering a compulsive-gambling treatment program.
Q: What is the program about?
A: Lexington offers individual treatment for the gambler, with a strong family component. We address cravings, triggers, gambling history with the client. We help the problem gambler recognize compulsive behaviors and their consequences. We assist individuals to break down their denial and address anger and resentments among family members. Together, the client and counselor develop an individualized treatment plan, which delineates the goals to be achieved during treatment.
Q: How does it help problem gamblers?
A: This treatment program will help the gambler heal the wounds inflicted by gambling and will work toward bringing families back together. Gamblers will learn to recognize their cravings and how to address them in order to prevent relapses. All this is done with compassion and understanding; becoming a pathological gambler is not a choice.
Q: How many participants are in the program?
A: This program was launched in May 2012. Right now, what we are doing is raising public awareness that this program exists and, with the help of the media, like The Daily Voice, we hope to accomplish this. There is a lack of awareness that there is now available treatment for people with a gambling problem in Westchester County. We have been getting responses due to our outreach and have begun treating clients with gambling problems.
Q: How has it helped them?
A: Treatment is a process that can’t be finalized right away. The help begins with the gambler admitting to his or her gambling problem, asking for help and coming to the Lexington Center for Recovery for treatment.
Q: What is the program’s success rate?
A: It is very difficult to measure success in the addiction field, as recovery is a lifelong process. However, throughout its 30-year history, Lexington Center for Recovery has treated more than 40,000 substance-abusing clients through a holistic approach, with the recognition that successful recovery comes within a loving circle of support. With the same compassion, understanding and professionalism that we have always subscribed to, we will work to assist gambling-addicted individuals achieve positive outcomes for themselves and their families.
Q: Where is the program available?
A: We are presenting this program in two of our locations:
Lexington Center for Recovery
3 Cottage Place
New Rochelle, NY
24 Smith Ave.
Mount Kisco, NY