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Negative Effects of Problem Gambling

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Introduction

Negative Effects of Problem Gambling Gambling is an ever-increasing problem which presently affects around 5% of the population, over one per cent of whom will suffer a lifetime of extreme problem gambling1. Despite the profound and detrimental way in which gambling affects society and individuals, it fails to be recognised as a severe psychological illness. It is constantly devalued by the government who are captivated by the capital generated by forms of gambling such as the lottery and, since 1962, have lessened regulations which insured gambling, and therefore the difficulties it incurs, escalate. Gambling as an addiction can be as destructive and have as many adverse effects as excessive drug use or alcohol intake. However, the telltale signs of a gambling addiction are comparatively non-existent, unlike the noticeable physical changes which occur when someone has consumed immoderate amounts of alcohol or drugs. Thus, gambling is often referred to as the 'hidden addiction.' As well as outlining the characteristics of someone who may be labeled a 'problem gambler,' the following essay will detail the often catastrophic effects this behaviour can have on the individual and the entire community. A problem gambler is characterised as someone whose incessant gambling has resulted in psychological, financial, emotional, marital, legal or other difficulties for themselves and those around them. The impact of this addiction is unquestionably greater than the obvious financial losses that can result from repeated gambling and as the addiction progresses, the consequences can be devastating. ...read more.

Middle

Unsurprisingly, problem gamblers frequently suffer from gastro-intestinal disturbances and insomnia, problems which are likely to intensify as the victim spirals further into debt. Excessive gambling has drastic effects on employment and finances as participants gamble their lives away. Those at the height of their addiction repeatedly borrow and steal, often from family and friends, in an attempt reverse their losses. Convincing themselves that theft will allow them to win back their money and thus, their livelihood, they are ignorant to the fact this can never be achieved and is more likely to cause further problems in their work and familial relationships. A Canadian survey carried out in 19945 confirmed how destructive the effects of excessive gambling could be. Over half of the 400 participants admitted to spending over $100 monthly on gambling, with around 23% spending from 80 to 200% of their annual salary on their obsession. An astonishing 55% had obtained money through illegal means while 62% admitted to acquiring money from relatives. A great number of gamblers were found to let their habit interfere with their work. Absence was a regular occurrence, while most problem gamblers behaviour and concentration at work was gravely affected by their preoccupation, leading a third of those surveyed to lose their jobs, whether through theft, lack of productivity or continued absence due to entire days spent at casinos. While those surrounding the problem gambler are susceptible to the effects of gambling, the victim himself is most vulnerable and in extreme cases, will attempt suicide. ...read more.

Conclusion

With the risks and negative repercussions transcending the initial attractive aspects of gambling, it is difficult for an outsider to comprehend why someone who has suffered such tremendous losses, be it financial or otherwise, would continue gambling their possessions and relationships away. With a great deal of ignorance surrounding this addiction, gamblers are likely to be dismissed as mentally unstable, more likely to be destroyed by gambling than receive adequate treatment. However, in reality gambling is such a consuming psychological addiction that, left to his own devises, the gambler refuses to quit until he has won or, more likely, lost everything. 1 Volberg, 1994 as cited in Report on Problem Gambling Commissioned and Published by the Home Office 2 Orford, Jim (2001) Excessive Appetites John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 3 Squire's 1937 Psychoanalytic Review, as cited in Orford, Jim (2001) Excessive Appetites John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 4 Lorenz and Yaffe, 1986 as cited in Report on Problem Gambling Commissioned and Published by the Home Office 5 Ladouceur et al. as cited in Orford, Jim (2001) Excessive Appetites John Wiley & Sons LTD 6 Report on Problem Gambling Commissioned and Published by the Home Office 7 Custer and Milt (1985) as cited in Orford, Jim (2001) Excessive Appetites John Wiley & Sons LTD. 8 Mayer and Fabian, 1993; Blaszczynski and McConaghy, 1994a and 1994b as cited in Report on Problem Gambling Commissioned and Published by the Home Office 9 Report on Problem Gambling Commissioned and Published by the Home Office Jenny Woolfson 0206756 Essay 1: For 18/10/04 Psychology of Addictions ...read more.

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