Gambling Addiction Growing in Some Areas

Addictions can totally consume a person’s life and it doesn’t matter if the addiction is to alcohol, drugs or even gambling. A recent health news story on Health Asia One, examines the impact a gambling addiction can have a person and the rise of this addiction throughout the world.

The National Addictions Management Service (Nams) received 2,415 calls to its help lines, 1,518 of which were related to a gambling addiction. Two counseling centers – Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society and Care Corner – saw 600 clients for problem gambling as of March last year.

Attendance at support group sessions for gambling addicts and their families is overflowing at the One Hope Center. Three years ago, 12 to 15 addicts and their families attended bi-weekly meetings at Geylang Methodist Church. Now, the crowd swells to 80.

“I think problem gamblers and their families are worried about the new casinos,” says One Hope Centre’s executive director, Reverend Tan Lye Keng. “So, there is an urgent need for them to get better.”

The recreational gambler is experiencing problems when he or she wages more than he or she can afford to lose. Pathological gamblers persist in their habit at great cost to their personal, family and work lives. An individual chases losses suffers most from unexpected wins as they are spurred on to spend even more in the hope of recouping losses quickly.

For those struggling with a gambling addiction, the temptations to partake in the activity are growing. For instance, in China, there are more than 200 soccer matches one can bet on daily. According to a 2007 IMH study, gambling addicts are overwhelmingly male, Chinese, married, employed and with secondary school education. Their main habits are soccer betting, 4-D, casinos and horse-racing.

Studies also show that many with gambling addictions also suffer from substance abuse issues.