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Friday, November 11, 2005

Pathological Gambling Adiction

Gamblers no longer need to trek to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to find the action they crave. It is available today in their own hometowns. Gambling's tremendous popularity is evident in the recent increase in the number of off-track-betting parlors (OTBs) and riverboat casinos. For most of the industry's patrons, gambling is fun and a form of harmless entertainment. For the four to six percent of gamblers who become problem or pathological (compulsive) gamblers, however, it can be a devastating illness that negatively affects every aspect of their lives.

Gambling can be defined as playing a game of chance for stakes. Gambling occurs in many forms, most commonly pari-mutuels, lotteries, casinos,card rooms, bingo and the stock market.

Pathological gambling is a progressive disease that devastates not only the gambler but everyone with whom he or she has a significant relationship gambling addiction as including three phases:

Winning phase gamblers experience a big win� or a series of wins � that leaves them with unreasonable optimism that their winning will continue.

Losing phase the gamblers often begin bragging about wins they have had, start gambling alone, think more about gambling and borrow money legally or illegally. They start lying to family and friends and become more irritable, restless and withdrawn.

Desperation phase, there is a marked increase in the time spent gambling. This is accompanied by remorse, blaming others and alienating family and friends.

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