Gambling Disease

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Gambling Disease

In the US today, as gambling is becoming more popular so are gambling addicts.
As the states institute legalized gambling, their income increases dramatically.
Compulsive gambling needs to be recognized and medically treated before it is
too late for the gambler. The only way to treat the disease of compulsive
gambling is absence from gambling. Therefore, compulsive gambling must be
considered and uncontrollable disease. According to the Merriam Webster
Dictionary, compulsive means an irresistible (uncontrollable) impulse (Mish
166). A disease is defined as being an abnormal bodily condition that impairs
functioning and can usually be recognized by signs and symptoms. Uncontrollable
means incapable of being controlled (Mish 222). Pathologic gambling has been
defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a chronic progressive
failure to resist impulses to gamble, and gambling behavior that comprises, or
damages personal, family, or vocational pursuits (Glazer 2). How can it be
determined if an individual is a compulsive gambler or not? According to the
American Psychiatric Association you are a pathological (compulsive) gambler if
you exhibits theses traits: (1) you have preoccupation with gambling; (2) a
need to increase the excitement produced by gambling; (3) restlessness or
irritability when unable to gamble; (4) repeated unsuccessful efforts to
control, cut back, or stop gambling; (5) gambling in an effort to get back money
lost during gambling on a previous day; (6) gambling in an effort to escape
an unpleasant mood; (7) lying to cover up gambling; (8) jeopardizing a
significant job, relationship, or educational opportunity by gambling (9)
engaging in illegal activity to finance gambling; and (10) going to someone else
to relieve a desperate financial situation produced by gambling. An individual
who fulfills five out of the ten criteria is diagnosed as a pathological
gambler. Problem gamblers would satisfy only two, three, or four of these
criteria (Lesieur 2). If you answered five of the ten questions yes, you need
to check yourself in to the nearest Gamblers Anonymous support group, because
you have the uncontrollable disease of compulsive gambling. Although evidence is
presently sketchy on compulsive gambling, certain facts are beginning to emerge.
In the past men were 95% of all compulsive gamblers. Today women make up almost
a third of compulsive gamblers (Compulsive 1). Therapists have begun to notice
many similarities between alcohol, drugs, and gambling addiction (Lesieur 6).
An addiction to gambling must be considered a sever problem, similar to that
of alcohol and drugs. Gamblers often experience an exhilarated high when
gambling and withdrawal symptoms when they are not gambling (Glazer 8). Since
pathological gamblers are determined to have similarities to alcoholism and drug
users, which is considered to be an uncontrollable disease, pathological
gambling must be labeled as an uncontrollable disease, in order to properly
diagnose the problem and solve it (Lesieur 6). Compulsive gambling is
perceived to be a disease that cannot be cured, only arrested (Lesieur 5). In
the past twenty years, gambling has dramatically increased, as has the rate of
pathological gambling. By 1991, the total money spent on gambling has risen over
three hundred billion dollars (Pathological 1). Although states revenues from
gambling have increased immensely, the help for problem and pathological
gamblers lags far behind. It has been proven that the rate of compulsive
gamblers is rising at an alarming rate. The most common approach for
pathological gamblers is to join self-help groups such as the Gamblers Anonymous
(GA), a twelve-step program base on Alcoholics Anonymous (Lesieur 5). Many more
hours need to be put into researching pathologic gambling. Research needs to be
conducted on numerous angles, including whether or not pathologic gamblers
should use abstinence from gambling for the rest of their life (Glazer 9). If we
do not start spending money on researching the uncontrollable disease of
compulsive gambling the problem will only continue to skyrocket into the next
millennium. If an individual is not able to control his or her mind they are out
of control, in other words they are uncontrollable. A compulsive gambler is
unable to control the overpowering impulse to gamble (Wedgeworth 4). Thus,
the compulsive gambler is determined to fit the concept that the overpowering
drive to gamble is an impulse and not within the gamblers conscious control (Wedgeworth
5). Compulsive gambling is an uncontrollable disease that thrives in the
victims head. According to Aprile, a nurse practitioner, recent studies
indicate compulsive gamblers suffer from inadequate levels of brain chemicals.
Thus, the imbalance causes the gamblers to engage in risk-taking chances (Aprile
6). If you are out of control of your body and your brain is not functioning
properly, then you