Studies show that when we gamble our heart rate behaves rather like it does with
a chemical high. There is little reaction to winning. A much greater reaction to losing, with an adrenaline rush and high emotional arousal, possibly caused by fear.
These findings were not expected, as winning was thought to be the reinforcing factor in problem gambling.
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It is easy for people to gamble more than they intended, and lose. Those losses can accumulate, leading to intolerable losses. The frequency and intensity of gambling increases as they try frantically to recoup the money by “ chasing losses” .
While losing, people can spiral down into the depths of misery, and go on gambling in reckless desperation. Problems escalate as they use up their savings, borrow from friends and banks, and see gambling as the only way out of the mess. It isn’t.
Up to 60% of problem gamblers go on to crime, with fraud, forgery, embezzlement and stealing, to finance their habit, They become obsessed with thoughts of where to get more money for the next gambling session. They can become detached and isolated, and can deliberately start arguments with a partner, so that they can storm out and go gambling, without the partner being suspicious.
They become very devious and secretive and head quickly into a crisis. Severe depression can lead to suicide attempts. Suicide rates in gambling cities are higher than those in non gambling cities.
Substance abuse and heavy alcohol use are often present, and problem gamblers usually smoke.
Marriage breakdown is common because of the moods, the lying, the deceit, the loss of trust, the loss of money, especially the fear that they will lose their home.
One woman told me that the cover of my little book was more appropriate than I knew. She confessed that she had even robbed her kids’ piggy banks to go gambling.
Some researchers believe that children’s video/computer game play may lead on to gambling.
Gambling is fun. It is an accepted and embedded part of the Australian culture.
Where else on earth does the whole country stop for a horse race? Or display a stuffed race horse as a prize exhibit at its top museum?
Colonialism involved immense personal risks and left us with a legacy of anti-authority, larrikinism and a non-puritanical outlook on life.
Goldrushes are also risky and gambling was rife on the goldfields.
Our history is full of stories of 2-Up, bookies ………………
The biggest civil disobedience movement in this country was
It is well known that Australians will bet on two flies crawling up a wall.
We all gamble – except maybe the Jehovahs.
When I first published this book in 2001, it was a small pocket-sized book, with one quote per page. Different fonts. Different sizes. Converting it into an ebook has meant changing the format. Hopefully the words can still be useful.
All around us everyday are others suffering in silence.
The most important thing we can do today is to offer hope to someone whose hope has gone. A smile, a kind word, a touch may be all it takes to bring someone back from the edge.