It is a Friday night, and the local bars and casinos are filling up with people looking to relieve the stresses of a long work week. Most people only go for a couple of hours, have a few drinks, and possibly gamble a small amount of money into one of the many slot machines. The night concludes, and these people wake up the next day with their lives remaining normal, besides maybe a slight hangover. For a handful of people, approximately 2.9 percent of the adult population, according to Rehab International, the night out does not end. They wake up with their wallets feeling much lighter and a desire to return to the casinos. These 2.9 percent of people are those who are considered to be addictive gamblers. A downward spiral begins to form and the addictive gamblers slowly watch their lives diminish.

While this seems extreme, the case is true for too many people. Gambling addiction is defined by Rehab International as, “Gambling behavior that leads to disturbance in important spheres of life like vocational, social, physical and psychological.” Basically, a person is considered a gambling addict when the act of gambling begins to influence their day-to-day life. Not every gambling addict is on the verge of losing their home, many just struggle to resist further gambling.

We are ethically responsible for helping our peers who need assistance. Making gambling illegal is not a practical solution for preventing gambling addiction, but raising awareness of the issue is a good start. If the public becomes informed of the various signs and symptoms of addictive gambling, they may be able to aid a friend who is struggling. The key to controlling the problem is to keep an eye out for those who are struggling and to continue to raise awareness for those who cannot escape the grasp of addictive gambling.

Ryan von Rohr

Boise, Idaho

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