SEATTLEApril 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Associated Behavioral Health Care, a leading provider of behavioral health services in metro Seattle, will begin offering online treatment programs for gambling addictions at all four of its locations.

It’s estimated that 15% of all Americans gamble at least once weekly. Recent studies have shown a significant increase in online gambling, including for first time gamblers during this time of social distancing. Gambling disorder can lead to a wide array of significant mental health issues, including a documented higher suicide rate than other addictions.   

Analytics firm AlphaBeta has revealed a 67% increase in online gambling since the shutdown of all non-essential services due to COVID-19 in most of the U.S. and much of the world. A similar trend was flagged by US-facing online social poker room Global Poker, which revealed a 43% increase in the use of online poker sites in the U.S. since social distancing and lockdowns took effect, including a 255% increase in first-time poker players.

Associated Behavioral Health Care provides medical, mental health and substance abuse/chemical dependency outpatient behavioral health services at its four Washington locations—Bellevue, North SeattleWest Seattle and Kent.

“Recovery from addiction has just gotten a lot harder in this time of social isolation. People in early recovery depend on their sober community for connection and support. Faced with loneliness and with limited options, people may turn back to their substance of choice, such as alcohol, or if one is struggling with gambling addiction may turn to other risky activities such as online gambling,” says Janna Johnson, SUDP, Kent branch, ABHC

“Some symptoms to be aware of include an inability to stop once starting, needing to wager higher and higher amounts to get the same effect, hiding losses from family, obsessing over the next gambling session, chasing losses and increasing debt,” she added.

In January, ABHC joined the portfolio of residential, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs for teens and adults owned by Discovery Behavioral Health, Inc., an expanding nationwide provider of behavioral health services with treatment centers in 12 states, offering programs to treat substance use disorders, eating disorders and mental health conditions.

“The COVID-19 crisis has created an environment where more than ever evidence-based addiction treatment services are needed. Research has shown that anxiety, isolation and boredom are stressors that promote addictive behavior including gambling. As Seattlites continue to experience a new shelter-in-place normal, we want to continue to serve the needs of this population,” says John Peloquin, PhD, CEO of DBH.

Read the full Press Release Here