Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: When a gambler behaves mindlessly and irresponsibly, losing money, depriving the family, and harming the community, he/she is often treated as a criminal, rejected, or punished by friends and society alike.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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When a gambler behaves mindlessly and irresponsibly, losing money, depriving the family, and harming the community, he/she is often tre...
Pair of Dice
When a gambler behaves mindlessly and irresponsibly, losing money, depriving the family, and harming the community, he/she is often treated as a criminal, rejected, or punished by friends and society alike. During the 1970s the attitude towards the compulsive gambler as a weak-willed person or criminal began to change. Pathological or compulsive gambling began to be viewed as an addictive behavior. The compulsive gambler loses control over the behavior, denies that he/she has a problem, is easily depressed, and has a low self image.
Gambling addicts tend to be males from middle- to upper-middle-class backgrounds. They are often articulate, have a higher than average IQ, are energetic, industrious, competitive, and desire independence. They often have a family history of alcoholism, depression, or compulsive gambling. About one third of them have parents with the same problem. In most cases they were introduced to gambling by family members when they were young.
Surprisingly, compulsive gamblers rarely have a history of antisocial behavior, either as children or adolescents. They tend to perform well at school and work. While still in their teens many experienced a "big win," either at a race track, casino, or lottery, of such proportions that it made a lasting impression on them. They often return to the track, casino, or even the stock market with the expectation of winning big again.
There are three stages that the compulsive gambler goes through. In the early or winning phase, the dependency on gambling develops as the individual begins to bet more frequently and tends to win as his/her knowledge of gambling odds and risks is developed. During this stage, the person still "controls" the behavior and can stop gambling. Rarely does the individual borrow money, since winnings are usually enough to support continued gambling. This phase may continue for months to years and typically ends with a substantially big win.
During the next phase, the losing phase, the individual begins to gamble alone instead of with friends and begins to bet large amounts of money. Around this time, because the individual is gambling more, he/she begins to lose. Out of frustration, the individual begins to bet more money and take more chances. As his/her winnings are quickly depleted, the person begins to draw upon other resources in order to "get even." This is often money that has been earned, saved, or invested. If the person continues to lose, he/she feels a sense of urgency to win back what has been lost and eventually may borrow money. The individual then tries to cover up and may lie about his/her gambling, which alienates both family and friends. When friends or family do lend money to help the person get out of debt, it usually is quickly lost.
During the last or desperation phase, the person disregards creditors, family, and friends and begins to take even further risks. He/she may engage in illegal loans, thefts, or other crimes. The person often loses family and job. Depression is common, and suicide attempts are frequent.
The cause of compulsive gambling is not known. Most gamblers talk about the "thrill" or "high" they get while gambling, and it is speculated that, as in other addictive behaviors, perhaps beta-endorphines are produced in the brain, which causes the individual to repeat the behavior to obtain the pleasant feeling. It is interesting to note that during treatment, compulsive gamblers undergo withdrawal symptoms similar to symptoms of persons addicted to depressant drugs: headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea, cold sweats, tremor, and nightmares.
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