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Compulsive Gambling as a Social Problem


Submitted By cwalker
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Is Compulsive Gambling as a Social Problem?

Catherine Walker

College Composition II
Professor Eric Miller
October 27, 2009

Is Compulsive Gambling a Social Problem?
This paper explores the area of compulsive gambling and its effects upon American society. Compulsive gambling or pathological gambling has stagnated over the years, but has again become a silent stalker in that those who suffer from compulsive gambling suffer mostly in silence because of a perceived stigma that if you gamble you are a “loser”. The amount of money spent by Americans is astounding and compulsive gambling has become a major depressive disorder likely to occur in 76 percent of all compulsive gamblers (Unwin Davis, & Leeuw, 2000). As access to money become more limited, gamblers often resort to crime in order to pay debts, appease bookies, maintain appearances, and garner more money to gamble (Thompson, Gazel, & Rickman, 1996).
The definition of compulsive gambling as it appears on the Mayo Clinic website is defined as an impulse-control disorder – a disorder in which you can’t resist a temptation or drive to perform an act that is harmful to you or someone else (
The National Opinion Research Center states that “Compulsive gambling is a problem in that it affects the whole of society at a phenomenal rate.” (NORC, 1999).
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines pathological gambling as being unable to resist impulses to gamble which can lead to severe personal or social consequences. The APA goes further to define pathological gambling as having five or more of the following symptoms:
• Committing crimes to get money to gamble
• Feeling restless or irritable when trying to cut back or quit gambling
• Gambling to escape problems to feelings of sadness or anxiety
• Gambling larger amounts of money to

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