Saturday, 20 January 2007

Gambling Addiction

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for problem gambling to be recognized as an addiction and for treatment to be available on the NHS (National Health Service). Just like the services that deal with alcohol and drug dependency. More about this story here.

Not everyone is going to back this proposal. Why should gambling addicts, instead of, say people who have fertility problems, be entitled to free treatment? What about sex addiction? Reminds me of the convicted rapist who tried to get Viagra on the NHS (his doctor said he was depressed because he suffered from impotence). No, I didn't make that up.

And if gambling addicts are to have access to NHS treatment, should health professionals expect to see more problem gambling after the Gambling Act comes into force in September? This piece of legislation will increase gambling facilities in the UK. The plot thickens...

I read an article in which the writer (also a gambler) opposed the BMA's proposal, saying that character flaws should not be seen as illnesses. Gamblers, the commentator argued, ought to take personal responsibility for their gambling, like he did. I think he's raised an interesting point.

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