With the nation in a frenzy over the record $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot, addiction experts have advice for compulsive gamblers: Now, more than ever, is a good time to reach out for help.
The excitement over the jaw-dropping grand prize — along with a Powerball jackpot that has climbed to $620 million — is harmless fun for many people. But for those who have struggled with gambling addiction, the lottery fever can be a trigger.
"For people in recovery, this can be an amazingly difficult time, because there are constant reminders to play," said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, which operates the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700), a round-the-clock phone, text and chat hotline. "Many of them feel like they're just one bet away from winning everything back."