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Mental Health America to host behavioral addiction program

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

(Photo)
Mental Health America of Putnam County will be hosting a free education series program, "Dealing with Behavioral Addictions." The program organizers and speakers are (from left) Eileen Johnson, executive director of Mental Health America; Kimberly Grande of the Hamilton Center; James Hardwick of Putnam County Community Corrections; and Bill Nunn of the Hamilton Center. Chuck Bovis, who is not pictured, will also be speaking.
Mental Health America of Putnam County will be hosting an education series program, "Dealing with Behavioral Addictions." The program will take place at the Putnam County Museum on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m.

The program will be led by panelists Bill Nunn, the director of the Hamilton Center; Kimberly Grande, a licensed marriage and family therapist with the Hamilton Center; Chuck Bovis, vice president of the Indiana Council for Problem Gambling; and James "Figgy" Hardwick, a case manger, education coordinator and program facilitator and substance abuse counselor with Putnam County Community Corrections.

Panelists will discuss behavioral addictions, which are non-substance related such as gambling, food, computer use, video games as well as several others.

"This is our first time doing this type of program that is not dealing with substance abuse," said executive director of Mental Health America Eileen Johnson. "We just thought it would be something different. We're trying to reach a broader spectrum of people."

Grande, who studied gambling addiction in Las Vegas, brought up the topic of gambling addiction to Nunn who then decided it'd be an excellent program for Putnam County residents.

"For some people they become addicted to certain behaviors which may alter certain functions," said Nunn. "We felt like it would be a useful topic to address."

Rather than focusing strictly on gambling, the panelists decided to expand to other behavioral issues as well. In a world of technology many people young and old are becoming addicted to things such as texting and video games.

"Gambling and addition is a widespread problem in the nation," said Grande. "We're hoping to increase awareness."

Although, gambling may or may not be a major issue in Putnam County there are many people who struggle with different behavioral addictions. The panelists agree, depression, anxiety and substance abuse are just some of the major problems they see throughout the county.

"We certainly know that people do get themselves into trouble with behavioral addictions," said Nunn. "You can't really untangle addictions but they all impact the community."

Gambling is a unique issue in which the state advertises and encourages people to participate in the activity, however at the same time they also warn about how dangerous it may be.

"Most people are able to handle it without become addicted," said Nunn. "For others that is not the case. How do you cross that line between responsible and problematic?"

Eighty-five percent of adults have gambled at least once in their lives. There are five million people throughout the nation that affected by compulsive gambling. This could be any age, sex or background.

Addictions touch home for many different people. It is something that not only affects the addict but the friends and family, with which the addict surrounds themselves.

Panelists will be on hand to discuss several issues they see throughout the county and throughout the world. They will be there to answer any questions one may have as well to pass out information on help lines and other ways to avoid addiction.



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