Pathological Gambling

Essay by volsonUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2004

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Gambling can be fun for many people, playing a game of chance including card games, slot machine, lotteries, horse racing, etc. Pathological gambling is considered a disorder of impulse control that devastates not only the gambler but everyone with whom he or she has a significant relationship. A few signs that are present of a person considered a pathological or compulsive gambler are a preoccupation of gambling, unsuccessful efforts to control or stop gambling, and irritability when attempting to stop. After the gambler loses money, they will gamble more to win back the money they have lost. Lying to others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling becomes a normal behavior. (Carson,p.414)

Little is known about what causes a person to become a pathological gambler. Gambling appears to be a learned behavior being reinforced by a "big win". Although a person is aware that the odds for winning are not in their favor, they feel they are exempt from these odds and continue to gamble.

Many times, a person will spend all of their savings, ignore growing bills, or steal money to support their gambling habit. In certain cultures, it is "normal" to have a gambling problem, making culture a factor in developing a gambling problem.

Treatment is available for those with gambling problem, but like with any addiction, a desire to stop is the first requirement. Gamblers are resistant to treatment and many times, recovery is not accomplished. Cognitive-behavior-therapy has proven to be an effective tool for providing treatment, with an 86% success rate for those that actually complete the treatment (Carson,p.415). There are also support groups that are modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous called Gamblers Anonymous. in which other people with similar problems lend support to each other to control their addiction. Unfortunately, Gamblers Anonymous has...