Compulsive gambling or pathological gambling, a psychological disorder characterized by a persistent inability to resist the impulse to gamble. The disorder is progressive, resulting in difficulties in one's personal, social, and work life; it may lead to bankruptcy or criminal activity to obtain money. Compulsive gambling in the United States has increased in the last decade and it has been estimated that up to 3% of the adult population may gamble pathologically and the percentage is high in the senior citizen arena.


Compulsive gamblers tend to lose control of the amounts they risk and cannot stop gambling even when they continue to lose. Although money is important to them, they often say they are looking for "action," an excited or euphoric state comparable to the "high" of drug abuse. Eventually, compulsive gamblers may engage in forgery, theft, embezzlement or other crimes to provide money for continued gambling.


Compulsive gambling is a highly treatable disorder. For many, active participation in Gamblers Anonymous, a support group with five local weekly meetings in the High Desert, has proven effective. There are no dues or fees for attendance. For more information call  261-4267 for meeting times and locations.


Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of the following questions.


1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?


2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?


3. Did gambling affect your reputation?


4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?


5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?


6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?


7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?


8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?


9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?


10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?


11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?


12. Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?


13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself and your family?


14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?


15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?


16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance your gambling?


17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?


18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?


19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?


20. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?