PROBLEM GAMBLING IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH GAMBLING ADDICTION: A COMMENT ON )

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Blaszczynski (2005) appears to make some common mistakes.

Problem drinking is not a synonym for a disease such as alcohol dependence, but merely states that in some way that person's consumption of alcohol has consequences called problems. However, such consequences are not symptoms. When we stigmatize a condition with our prejudices it is very tempting to make consequences symptoms. By the same token, problem gambling is not gambling addiction. The use of the terms ‘problem drinking’ or ‘problem gambling’, at least in part, are an attempt to take away the primacy of the physician in diagnosing, prognosticating and prescribing treatment for diseases such as gambling addiction or alcohol addiction.

He does not distinguish between necessary causes and sufficient causes. It is a necessary cause of bovine tuberculosis to drink milk contaminated by that bacillus but it may not be s sufficient cause, as clearly not all those who drink that milk develop tuberculosis. None the less, when preventing rather than curing, reducing the impact of a necessary cause can be critical. We can take such measures as pasteurizing milk and obtaining milk from cows that are not infected with tuberculosis.

We can justly say that as gambling is a necessary cause of gambling addiction then the number of those suffering from such an addiction may be reduced by appropriate controls on the frequency and intensity of gambling.

As an afterthought, does the author advocate the abolition of prohibition on drugs such as heroin?

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