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Recreational gambling is enjoyable activity for many people.  Nearly every person gambles at some time in their life and gambling in some form or other has existed in every culture throughout the entire course of human history.  The vast majority of people who gamble occasional do not have any serious problems because of it.  I designed this website a long time ago (1997) to address the issues of problem and pathological gambling (also known as compulsive or addictive gambling). I have tried to keep the information as current as possible but with the changing times I am now posting current articles on facebook. I would like to encourage you to look there for current posts regarding gambling issues

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Eric-Geffners-Private-Practice-Stop-Gambling-Now/246606071813 

Legal forms of gambling gross between 70 and 100 billion dollars every year; that is more money than the total revenue earned by the film and music industries as well as all of the major amusement parks combined.  This does not even account for the additional billions of dollars wagered illegally or offshore.  For example, an estimated 2.5 billion dollars is wagered illegally just on the NCAA March Madness tournament.  

In my view, gambling is not evil, nor is it a sin, although the corporate "gaming" industry is very parasitic in their attempts to manipulate people.  I am not against gambling, although I do feel that that, with some exceptions, it is basically a very sophisticated scam, where they want you to believe that the more you learn about a particular game the more likely you are to win, when in fact you are more likely to learn how to lose less. 

Gambling is a very destructive and addictive behavior for some people.  I am interested only in helping people who have experienced a loss of control over their gambling and would like to better understand the nature of this problem as well as what to do about it.  I am not an advocate for making gambling illegal or over-regulating it, but I have felt for a long time that the industry must assume some responsibility for the damage that its product causes, just as large industrial corporations must take care of the pollution they cause.   Along those lines it is a very very exciting time in California because for the first time we actually have FREE TREATMENT, paid for by a special distribution fund set up by the Tribal Casinos as a part of the negotiations that allowed them to expanded the number of slot machines and types of games (really we should call them what they are, forms of gambling as they are not really "games" are they?) that they offer.  

As I was saying, for a small percentage of people gambling is an addictive behavior.  Exact numbers are difficult to obtain, but it has been estimated that between 1-4% of the adult population have, or will have, a serious gambling problem at some point in their life.  The situation is similar to alcohol: most people drink without having any alcohol-related problems, but some people frequently abuse alcohol and others have severe alcohol problems.  Mental health professionals use the terms: "Problem Gambler" and "Pathological Gambler" to describe the severity of the problem.  To learn more about theses and other "types" of gamblers click here:  Types of gamblers

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about gambling problems, click here to see some of these: Myths

It can be really hard for people to comprehend that gambling can become a full blown addictive process.  In my work with gamblers and their families, I hear stores of financial devastation, family dysfunction, and emotional instability.  Problem gamblers continue to gamble despite the consequences of their actions and often using borrowed money to do so.  Pathological gambling, if left untreated, can damage or ruin a gambler's life as well as that of their families.  

I hope that if you, or a family member, has a gambling problem that you will continue to explore the rest of this web site and take action by contacting me, or another treatment provider, and Gambler's Anonymous/Gam-anon.  If you live outside of the Los Angeles region go to the helpful links section for more information about treatment options.

If you have found the information on this website helpful or have a suggestion about something that should be included please contact me. 

For those seeking help, I hope that your path towards resolution of your problem is smooth.