The disease of gambling addiction

To the editor:

I am an “old school” physician since 1958, with nine years experience as a family practitioner and 25 years in radiology. This included the era when the Salk and Sabin vaccines were introduced in the early 1960s to prevent the dreaded summer-time disease of poliomyelitis, the disease made famous by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In my internship at St. Louis City Hospital, a lady I had just helped birth a healthy little boy spiked a fever. Suspecting a strep infection, I prescribed penicillin injections. About four hours later, she was found dead in her hospital bed. Autopsy revealed acute bulbar poliomyelitis which had affected her brain stem. I had also helped transfer a young teenager in an iron lung, two years before this episode, to a hospital better suited for this type of extended care. He had the same type of polio.

The prevention of any disease that has the potential to affect the wellness or death of people or animals is far better than any treatment required if that disease is contracted! The fact that polio is no longer present in the U.S. is proof that prevention is best. Illegal immigrants or those fearful of the effects of vaccines threaten the recurrence of polio and other contagious diseases.

From Mayo “Compulsive gambling, also called gambling disorder, is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life. Gambling means that you’re willing to risk something you value in the hope of getting something of even greater value. Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs (marijuana-opioids) or alcohol can, leading to addiction. If you have a problem with compulsive gambling, you may continually chase bets that lead to losses, hide your behavior, deplete savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud to support your addiction. Compulsive gambling is a serious condition that can destroy lives. Although treating compulsive gambling can be challenging, many people who struggle with compulsive gambling have found help through professional treatment. Treating compulsive gambling can be challenging. That’s partly because most people have a hard time admitting they have a problem. Yet a major component of treatment is working on acknowledging that you’re a compulsive gambler.” Again, prevention is best.

A friend of mine recently told me that one of his relatives was a compulsive gambler who eventually lost all three of his successful business enterprises. He further related an observation of fellow coworkers at Goodyear back when only the lottery was locally available. Every payday, they would be met at the gate by loan sharks who required $2 for the repayment of $1 borrowed or else?). Many would go home with, maybe, only 25 percent of their paychecks which had to support their families, buy food and pay debts. The urge to recoup losses is overwhelming and best prevented by not gambling. Google “Gamblers Anonymous” to learn about other complications of gambling such as loss of time from work or school, stealing from anyone and other crimes for our overloaded police department.

Mayo Clinic reports that curing gambling addicts is more difficult than curing opioid addicts at their clinics. We hear a lot about the curse of opioids, so why invite another curse into our community?

We pray in the Lord’s Prayer the sixth petition, “Lead us not into temptation.” Is gambling a sin? No! Farmers gamble every year they plant seed to grow crops to feed folks, and pray for success so they can take the same risk again next year. But casino gambling is stupidity. The next, seventh petition of the Lord’s Prayer is “But deliver us from evil.” We can accomplish deliverance from evil in our community by “Just Saying No To Casinos.”



I’ll pay it forward

To the editor:

I stopped at Reuben’s on 58 West the other day to get a burger plate and read my paper. When I got ready to leave, I looked for my bill. My attentive waitress advised me my dinner was already paid for by the couple in the booth next to me.

I thank you so much for your kind gesture. I shall do the same for someone else. You made my day!



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