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Counseling A Compulsive Gamble

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Gambling is an activity that has been around a long time. We can trace the practice of gambling all the way back to biblical times. There are many, many people who believe that gambling can be a very lucrative thing and can bring in a lot of profit. In many cases gambling can be very addictive and very dangerous to a person's life. This paper will show how many relationships are damaged due to gambling. These relationships being marriages, friends, siblings, parents, co-workers, etc. In addition, this paper will give a background on gambling and show how a counselor can help one who's life has already been damaged by gambling.
Introduction
"I'll bet you ten dollars that Minnesota beats Dallas this weekend." "No way, not unless you give me 10 points." "Fine, I'll give you Dallas plus ten points." "You're on!" This is a very common thing heard between friends prior to a big game. Sure, it may seem harmless at the time, but after the game someone is going o be out ten dollars, and it I guaranteed that they won't be very happy. This can sometimes cause a problem in the relationship between the two friends. It may end up that one of them feels cheated after the game, or one does not pay, but thee are many things that can cause these two buds to wind up in an argument. Sure, some people can make friendly bets like this and nothing will happen. The truth is, though, these friendly, sometimes harmless little bets can lead to bigger, more risky wagers, which, in many cases, leads to problems. Gambling is a problem that is prevalent all across the country, whether it be legal or not. Also, it is something that practically everybody does at one time or another, sometimes they just don't realize it. Gambling is something that, once one becomes more involved in it, the more it damages one's personal relationships with others. r is something that can not be taken lightly, it is a very serious subject in the world today. The purpose of this paper is to show how gambling can be harmful to people's lives and provide some insight on how to provide help for them.
The Background of Gambling
Gambling is something that has been around for quite some time. It comes in many different forms, so sometimes it is very hard to notice. For example, if a person walks across the street at a crosswalk, where the light is green and the sign says walk, they are still taking the chance that a car will not run the red light and hit them. So, in essence they are taking a gamble that the person in the car will obey the traffic law of stopping at a red light. In this sense, people gamble every day of their lives.
The most commonly noticed, and most dangerous forms of gambling usually deal with playing cards, and/or casinos. Betting on horse races or sports games are also among the common forms of gambling that are considered illegal in many of the U.S. states. These forms of gambling can cause the most problems in peoples lives.
Gambling is all based in chance. People take a chance in cards, for example, that they will get closer to 21 than the dealer will, and they bet obscene amounts of money on it. After losing an
obscene amount of money, people tend to continue to place bets until they have either won their money back, or lost it all. Usually it's the latter, which makes gambling a dead end street, with no hope of ever turning around. Once one is sucked in, it is nearly impossible to get out. (Peterson, 1974, p. 161)
This excerpt sums what exactly gambling is capable of. There are many people who go to casinos, or place bets of football games because it is a form of entertainment for them. It can be fun and it can be entertaining, if it is done in the right context. First, it must be done in moderation. One who places many bets for huge chunks of money every week, has a problem. One who goes to the casino once every two or three months with extra money they happen to have, or one who makes a friendly wager over a basketball game, which might not even include any type of currency, would be okay. It is the people who receive a major high from risking a lot of money on a card game, and who enjoy it so much that they do it often that need help. It is the compulsive gamblers that are the ones who really need help.
What makes one a compulsive gambler? This is a question that many counselors should be aware of.
A compulsive gambler is one who can never turn down a wager, not matter how high it is, nor how much risk is involved, would be considered a compulsive gambler. One who lives their lives in a way in which they rely on gambling as a form of making money, would be considered a compulsive gambler. (Larkin and Griffiths, 1998, p. 77)
A compulsive gambler is one who needs a lot of help. Chances are they are single. If they are not single, their marriage is struggling. This is not meant to be a stereotype, but some research has shown that 90% of marriages that involve a compulsive gambler ends in divorce (Winter and Rich, 1998). A short description of a compulsive gambler's behavior would be as follows: disregard for other people's needs, low self-esteem, a feeling that there is something missing in their lives, and in many cases a compulsive gambler will rely on alcohol for help, instead of seeking help elsewhere. Of course, there are some exceptions to these characteristics, but not many. It s true that there are some people who make their living off of gambling and it has paid off for them. The chances of it actually paying off are close to one in a million, but there are a few people out there who make money off of gambling. It is these people who set bad examples for everyone else. If someone sees a story on the news about someone winning millions at the casino, it will only encourage them to go and try to do the same. Once one begins to gamble moderately, if they are not careful, they will turn into compulsive gamblers. "Seven times out of ten, those who start off gambling conservatively, will end up in over their heads" (Rogers, 1998, p. 121). What this means is that if people chose to start gambling for fun, they could end up becoming more and more addicted to the gambling pastime, which can only lead to trouble.
One of the main areas of a person's life that is most effected by their gambling problem is their relationships. Once one begins to gamble more and more frequently, they tend to cut off most of the relationships with the important people in their lives. When a family member, friend, or even spouse confronts a person with a gambling problem their first instinct is to deny they even have a problem. This starts arguments and creates tension between the gambler and his family member, friend, spouse, etc. This tension is what leads to broken relationships in the gambler's life (Larkin and Griffiths, 1998). Is at this point that one needs to seek professional help. A well recommended form of help would be to seek the advice of a counselor, a psychologist. It is their job to find out how deep the individuals problem lies. It is only with this help that one can truly see what their problem is doing to their life. It is easy for other's to see the damage that gambling is doing to one's life, but it is difficult to for the person with the problem to see the actual effects of the problem.
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Keywords: a compulsive gambler, how to deal with a compulsive gambler, compulsive gambler traits

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