Addiction, The Silent Killer

The word “addiction” is derived from a Latin term for “enslaved by” or “bound to.” Anyone who has struggled to overcome an addiction or has tried to help someone else to do so understands why.

Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences.

Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable, but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

The word addiction is used in several different ways. One definition describes physical addiction. This is a biological state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that drug no longer has the same effect, otherwise known as a tolerance. Another form of physical addiction is the phenomenon of overreaction by the brain to drugs (or to cues associated with the drugs). An alcoholic walking into a bar, for instance, will feel an extra pull to have a drink because of these cues.

People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using. Their addiction may reach a point at which it is harmful.

Addictions do not only include physical things we consume, such as drugs or alcohol, but may include virtually anything, such abstract things as gambling to seemingly harmless products, such as chocolate – in other words, addiction may refer to a substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) or behavioral addiction (e.g. gambling addiction).

However, most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People compulsively use drugs, gamble, or shop nearly always in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior.

Addiction, often referred to as dependency often leads to tolerance – the addicted person needs larger and more regular amounts of whatever they are addicted to in order to receive the same effect. Often, the initial reward is no longer felt, and the addiction continues because withdrawal is so unpleasant.

When referring to any kind of addiction, it is important to recognize that its cause is not simply a search for pleasure and that addiction has nothing to do with one’s morality or strength of character.

Experts debate whether addiction is a “disease” or a true mental illness, whether drug dependence and addiction mean the same thing, and many other aspects of addiction. Such debates are not likely to be resolved soon.

Horse Racing Betting Strategy to Avoid Ruin

Gambler’s Ruin is a term that has been applied to several mathematical theories. The basic idea is that the longer you gamble the more likely you are to lose. That may sound incredibly simple, but how many people try to grind out a living gambling at the horse races day after day and finally tapping out? The first and most obvious point is that when you gamble against a player who has a bigger bankroll than yours, you’re at a disadvantage because he can last throw losing streaks longer than you can so he will eventually win your money.

But wait, you say, the horse races are different because I don’t gamble against the track, I gamble against the other players. Think of the other players, the pools that are put forth every day on each race, as a never ending source of money. Isn’t that how you would like it to be? You want to think that the money will be there everyday and if you figure out how to handicap well enough you’ll be able to dip into that pool every day and take out a profit.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that it is a source of wealth much larger than yours that you are gambling against. No matter what angle you use, eventually you’ll experience losing streaks. Those losing streaks over time will eat up a grinder’s roll. The pools at the race track will be replenished every day, unlike your own bankroll that is much more limited. The problem is “churn,” a term used in the gambling profession to describe what happens when gamblers keep reinvesting their money until the takeout eats it up.

The math doesn’t lie, but there are ways to reduce the effects. For one thing, bet less often and try to make more per bet. In that case it makes more sense to bet on long shots, if you can pick live bets. Another approach is to only gamble with amounts that you can replace on a weekly or monthly basis. You will still have losing streaks and times when you won’t make a profit, but if there is more money coming along, you won’t go broke. The problem with that, of course, is that you may be bleeding money week after week and year after year. There are no simple solutions to horse racing handicapping profitability.

I prefer to play the races for a while and then take a break. I keep track of my money and consider each foray a gambling campaign. Reducing my horse playing to sessions and campaigns makes it easier to manage my money and to have success that bolsters confidence. Dividing my play into a set number of races, say forty or fifty races, I can track performance and make adjustments.

Gambling Addiction Basics

The coming age has brought with it numerous new pathological addictions, one of them being addiction to gambling. Pathological gambling was conferred with the status of a disease by the American Psychiatric Association back in 1980s. Robert L. Custer, M.D., is a pioneer in this field of problem gambling.

People who fall prey to this addiction are usually those who secure an income by means of blackjack, poker or other gambling activities. They are professional players who visit casinos not for fun sake, but to employ their skills and earn.

Based on their way of playing and the driving force behind it, gamblers can be categorized. For example, while professional gamblers are skillful and good in their game a casual gamblers plays merely for recreation.

The symptoms of gambling addiction are usually hard to identify. Since this disease is different from other substance related addictions like drug or alcohol abuse, the indications of this sickness are subtle. The nearest possible way in which the symptoms of this addiction can be stated is through the “Custer three Phase Model”. According tot his model, the gambling addiction can be characterized by three phases: the wining phase, the losing phase and the desperation phase.

In the wining stage, the compulsive gambler is ecstatic and overexcited with this earnings and is unwilling to quit gambling. Therefore, the addict usually increases his intensity of gambling . However, losing being the other half of gambling, his wining streak is short-lived. Nonetheless, recurrent losses do not deter him as he wants to win again and get his money back. Addicted gamblers suffer from financial stress, loss of sleep, and mental fatigue in this phase. They face problems at the family front. The patient also tends to borrow huge amounts or avail some money making schemes. As the gambler continues to face loss on every alternate day, he finds it difficult to stay away from gambling. Compulsive gamblers may resort to any means to raise funds for their obsession. They become desperate, with their debts becoming unmanageable. Loss of jobs, fight with friends and family, committing crimes or suicidal tendencies define this phase.

The question as to why does one gamble, can not be answered in definitive terms. One of the dominant reasons is the mental health of the gambler. For some people gambling serves as a n escape route from their lives. A compulsive gambler plays for kicks. He is just unable to stay away from it. Many researchers also blame the easy accessibility to casinos. The government and its lottery fund is also widely condemned.

Treatment programs and centers exist to treat this disease. Regular therapy and counseling is an effective and a widely used technique to cure this disease. Various support groups have also cropped up, where the addicts share their experiences and strengthen each others desire to quit gambling. Some groups that fund such programs include casinos and state lotteries. Some casinos lay stress on responsible gambling and have taken steps to make the people aware about his addiction.

However the first step, before undertaking nay treatment would be to acknowledge this disease. With very slight symptoms and effects this addiction is difficult to catch and acknowledge. Hence it helps to be aware to act wisely.

The VLT – It May Look Like a Slot, But It’s Not

So what’s the difference between a traditional class III slot machine, video poker machine and a class II Video Lottery Terminal? Read on:

Traditional Class III Slot Machines

All outcomes on these gambling games are controlled by a small computer chip called a random number generator (RNG) inside each machine. This device allows the unit to continuously roam through random number combinations at the rate of thousands per second. These combinations are mapped to a specific outcome. It will not stop to select a display until the spin button is pressed or the handle is pulled. Each spin is independent of the next one. They have no effect on one another.

The RNG is installed at the factory to the payback specifications requested by the casino. A chip in each individual machine allows for jurisdictions to order different payback percentages in the same family of machines. (The payback percentage is the total amount of money returned to players over time.) They usually vary between 85% and 98%. Penny machines usually return the lower % amounts while the dollar and up machines return the highest. Contrary to what most players think, a casino CANNOT alter the payback percentages on a machine. This can only be done by factory personnel.

Class II Video Lottery Terminals

Have you ever thought about scratching off about 600 instant lottery tickets in about an hour? Play a VLT at one of the New York State racetracks and you’ll be doing just that. In contrast to the aforementioned, a VLT plays a virtual lottery game that is linked to a central computer operated by the NYS Lottery in Schenectady, NY. They determine the outcome of each wager using an RNG, but with a pre-determined number of winners. The VLT operators can program the number of payouts in advance. Once you start play, the machine receives a virtual scratch off ticket.When the video reels stop spinning he results will be consistent with whatever is on the ticket. The payback percentages are controlled by the scratch off games. In NY the law requires a minimum 92% return.

Other VLT games that operate in Native American jurisdictions are virtual bingo games that are linked together, forcing players to compete against each other for the prize payout(s).

Video Poker VLT’s

There’s a big difference between the class III and class II games when it comes to video poker. A traditional class III machine deals 5 cards from a virtual 52 card deck. After you discard, your final hand is determined randomly from the remaining 47 cards. Your knowledge and skill are a big factor when trying to win.

In a class II VLT, your final hand will be whatever the virtual scratch off ticket dictates. Even if you make a mistake and discard winning cards, a virtual “genie” will appear on your screen and change your hand to the pre-determined winning result. No skill is needed to win. It’s not a 52 card deck. It’s nothing more than a slot machine.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from playing VLT’s. You can win as well as lose. A 92% payback is a 92% payback. Whatever games you decide to play, you’ll always need a visit from Lady Luck!